My Updated Roaccutane Skincare Routine

29 April 2020

I've been taking Roaccutane for seven weeks now and I cannot believe the results I'm seeing already. My skin has always been pretty terrible, and if it's not covered with active breakouts, it's covered with scars. I'm quite a pale human and so it's fair to say I scar fairly easily and visibly... 

The last few weeks I've been on Roaccutane I've been stepping up my skincare routine as my skin is nowhere near as dry, sore, or sensitive as it was when I first started the treatment. I've been gradually adding some of my old staple products back into my routine and I definitely think they're contributing to the accelerated progress I'm seeing with my skin. A few of these products didn't even make it into my Roaccutane Skincare Edit post a few weeks ago, which shows how much things have changed around here in such a short space of time! 

My updated roaccutane skincare routine - a run through of the products I'm loving whilst on isotretinoin.

My Updated Roaccutane Skincare Routine 

Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser

Now, I can't say I've ever tried the cult classic Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, but this Superdrug offering is, in my opinion, a great hot cloth cleanser. Consistency-wise, it's thick and creamy - almost like a moisturiser - making it perfect for Roaccutane-dried skin. Now, I haven't been wearing a full face of makeup, but, any products I have been wearing this cleanser has been removing thoroughly and gently. It costs just under a fiver and I use it morning and evening as the first step in my skincare routine, bargain. 


Pixi Glow Tonic* 

A product that needs absolutely no introduction nor explanation, an absolute hero within the skincare community. I didn't think I'd ever be able to use this whilst on Roaccutane, but, where I'm still not at the full dose, my skin really has calmed down and is able to tolerate this! Rather than aggressively rub it around my face on a cotton pad like I used to, I now gently press it into the skin and it isn't uncomfortable at all. I apply this as part of my evening skincare routine as I stick to a very simple 3 step routine in the mornings! 


Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum*

Wow. I like this stuff a lot. But, at £81.50 a bottle, I'm not surprised it's fantastic. It's a super light serum that always leaves my skin feeling fresh and looking bright. Again, I only tend to use this in the evenings, as the third step in my routine. 


Bioderma Sebium Hydra

If you're currently taking Roaccutane and only want to try one of the products from this post, I highly recommend checking this moisturiser out. It's formulated specifically for 'acne-prone skin ultra-dry due to treatments', and err hello? Isn't that perfect... It's a really light, non-sticky consistency but still packs a whole lot of moisture and always leaves my poor dry skin looking glowing. At just over a tenner it's very much purse-friendly, and I may or may not be running out of my first tube and have another two on the way.


Body Shop Skin Defence SPF 50

A product that's had a fair amount of air-time here on becc4, this one is a firm favourite. It's an extremely light, invisible when on, SPF 50 and I love it a lot. I don't know about you, but I am notttt a fan of putting your bog-standard body suncream on my face, it feels horrible and leaves a white cast. This gem does neither of things and also sinks in super quickly. It's important to always wear an SPF when on Roaccutane, regardless of whether it's sunny or cloudy, so this is one I don't mind layering up day to day. 


And there we have it, my updated Roaccutane skincare routine. Have you tried any of these products?


My updated roaccutane skincare routine - a run through of the products I'm loving whilst on isotretinoin.

3 Free At-Home Workouts I'm Loving This Lockdown

28 April 2020

I've always been someone who's very all or nothing when it comes to fitness and working out. I'm either hitting the gym most days or I'm going months without ever breaking out into a run. Yes, I know it's not ideal, but the last few days I've been trying to break myself back into the exercise scene. I mean, for one, I can't use not having the time as an excuse anymore! Now, I know options are very limited, particularly for those who don't have access to any equipment - like myself - so I thought I'd show you my three favourite at-home workouts I've been doing this lockdown. They are all free and can be done right from your lounge/anywhere with a bit of floor space! 

3 Free At-Home Workouts I'm Loving This Lockdown that require no equipment!


3 Free At-Home Workouts I'm Loving This Lockdown

Yoga by Adriene

If you've ever even considered doing any sort of at-home yoga I'm sure you will already have heard of Adriene. She is the YouTube yoga queen and for very good reason. I find her videos are really easy to follow along with, her voice is super relaxing and she has playlists for all sorts of abilities, workout lengths and yoga goals. 

I tend to wake up, roll out of bed and follow one of her morning yoga videos in my pjs, on my bedroom floor. I don't have a yoga mat, but thankfully the floors in my house are carpeted so it's not too solid to lie on. When I don't feel like jumping around and over-exerting myself, a nice morning yoga sequence is my go-to!


Heather Robertson

Of all of the workout channels I've ever found, I think Heather's is my favourite. She has workouts with no equipment, no repeats and always gets straight into the workout. One of my pet peeves is when a workout video starts with a 7-minute chat about the weather, I mean, I like getting straight into the workout before I get bored and click off and get back into bed! Some of Heather's workouts are less than ten minutes (great for when you can't really be bothered but want to have done something) and she also has a free 12-week fitness plan if you fancy something a little more long-term! 


MadFit

Now, I don't know about you but learning TikTok dances doesn't come very naturally to me (anyone who knows me in real life is probably nodding their head so viciously they might cause some internal damage) but, I do still love a boogie as much as the next person. MadFit has a playlist of videos that are workouts to popular songs including one 15 minute dance party video which is allll of the best songs from the noughties. I don't know about you, but dancing around my room feels like way less of a workout than 100 burpees but is often is just as exhausting! 


And there we have it, three of my favourite at-home workouts... ps I'm by no means saying that you need to be using your free time to work out, this is just something I've been trying to get into as part of my lockdown routine and thought I'd share, just in case anyone else was interested in doing the same!



What are some of your favourite at-home workouts?

3 Free At-Home Workouts I'm Loving This Lockdown that require no equipment!

An A-Z of God Tier Foods

27 April 2020

You know me, I love food. I love talking about food, eating food, reviewing food, making food, the lot. I'm sure my parents find this particularly amusing because, as a child, I was a really fussy eater and often refused to eat. Look at me now, I'm a human dustbin, counting down the minutes to my next meal.

Following the success of my Ranking Christmas Foods post, I thought I'd compile an A-Z of God Tier Foods. These are the best of the best, the heroes amongst men, the things I couldn't live without...

An A-Z of God-Tier Foods.

An A-Z of God Tier Foods 

A - Angel Cake 
I might just say it, I think Angel Cake is my favourite kind of cake. The three vanillary layers with cream in between, the slightly artificial taste, the fact it costs only about a pound, incredible.

B - Biscoff 
I'm sure this one comes as no shock to anyone. If I were to make this even more specific I think I'd have to pick this Biscoff Cheesecake, it's the god-est of god-tier desserts. 

C - Chicken
I wasn't sure whether to pick chicken, crumble, cheese or croissants for this one, but ultimately settled on chicken because hello Nando's, Chicken Selects and a good Butter Chicken curry...

D - Danish Pastries 
Anyone who has ever even seen my Instagram will know that I love a Danish Pastry or two. If I had to pick a top three I think I'd pick; Croissants, Vanilla Creme Crowns, and Pain Au Raisins.

E - Enchiladas

Fajitas, but with extra salsa and melted cheese? Need I say anymore...

F - Fries
Fries just go with anything, make a great snack, and taste even better if accompanied by an ice-cold Sprite whilst on holiday. Standard French Fries are great but the garlic truffle fries from 7Bone are SOMETHING ELSE and should be tried by everyone, immediately*!

*when lockdown is over

G - Garlic Bread 
Garlic baguettes, garlic pizzas, garlic bread slices, garlic doughballs, garlic ciabatta... I'm yet to find a form of garlic bread I don't like.

H - Hash Browns 
This one was a massive toss-up between hash browns and halloumi but I think hash browns just pip halloumi to the post. After a heavy night out, the only thing I can ever think about is hash browns not a block of squeaky cheese...

I - Ice Cream 
Weirdly, I'm not actually a massive fan of ice-cream. I don't have anything against it, I don't dislike it, I just very rarely find myself reaching for/ordering a bowl of it. But, for the sake of this list, I'm happy to welcome it to the group.

J - Jelly Cubes 
Note the presence of the word cubes here... We're not talking about actually jelly, we're talking about those DELICIOUS cubes, straight out of the packet. If you've never tucked into a packet of raspberry jelly cubes, you really are missing out.

K - Kung Pao Chicken
My favourite Chinese dish and an absolute 10/10, I'm sure this one doesn't need any more explaining.

L - Lemon Meringue Pie
A good lemon meringue pie with a buttery pastry base, a velvety lemon filling, and a crispy meringue topping... Can you beat it?

M - Mash
After a quick quarter-final with mango, mozzarella fingers, and mac & cheese, mash was triumphant. That being said, mash has to be served with gravy, nobody likes a dry plate of mashed potatoes.

N - Nuggets
Another form of chicken, and a great one at that.

O - Onion Rings
The perfect accompaniment to any pub meal, but let's get down to the nitty-gritty of onion rings, battered are infinitely better than breaded.

P - Pizza 
Why do pizza, pasta and pancakes all begin with P?? That made this letter of the list a particularly hard one, but pizza just had to win, didn't it!

Q - Quesadillas 
Potentially a bit too similar to enchiladas, but considering the alternatives were quiche or quinoa, I think we'll welcome quesadillas to the team.

R - Roast Potatoes
Hello babies. If you were to search roast potatoes on my blog I'm sure you'd get many results indeed. I love roast potatoes a lot and would eat them for every meal if I had the time to make them.

S - Spaghetti Bolognese 
A meal that single-handedly got me through university. An easy one to make in bulk, and served with a pile of spaghetti and half a block of cheese. Mmm mmm.

T - Tacos 
A more recent obsession of mine, tacos are very much a God-tier meal if you ask me. I'm a hard shell, salsa, and sour cream, no lettuce or guacamole, sort of girl.

U - Udon Noodles
A little niche, but it is U after all... The ginger chicken udon dish is my absolute go-to at Wagamama and if you haven't ever tried it, you need to get on itttt.

V - Vanilla Cheesecake 
The second time cheesecake has featured in this list - have I emphasized the point enough yet? I love cheesecake.

W - White Chocolate 
I know this'll probably cause a bit of controversy but I'm not a massive chocolate fan. White chocolate, however, is a whole other story. In case you were wondering, the milky bar mini eggs are my absolute fave with the white chocolate smartie buttons in a close second!

X - 
...

Y - Yorkshire Puddings 
What is a roast dinner without Yorkshire puddings? Lame, that's what it is. And, as for that 'you don't have Yorkshires at Christmas' nonsense.... Take your opinions elsewhere pls.

Z - 
...


So there we have it, a slightly different type of post to usual but one I very much enjoyed writing. I'd love to see your lists and see how yours compare to mine - what would you change or add? I'd love to know!

An A-Z of God-Tier Foods.

The Cinnamon Bun Recipe

24 April 2020

For this week's lockdown bake I figured we'd try something along the same lines as hot cross buns, as I was pretty pleased with how those turned out... After a quick think and a google, I decided that cinnamon buns were going to be this week's mission.

Now, I cannot take any credit for this particular recipe as I followed this Minimalist Baker one word for word - there was no experimenting here! I did, however, use dairy ingredients rather than vegan ones, opting for semi-skimmed milk and unsalted butter, rather than almond milk and dairy-free spread.

I am very pleased with how these turned out and they're a lot less complicated to make than you'd first think. Overall, these only took a couple of hours to whip up, including an hour of proving, so could absolutely be a weekend brunch bake if you're up early and fancy homemade baked goods.

Also, side note, the more and more baking I'm doing, the more I'm starting to wonder whether I should drop the whole marketing career and get a job in a bakery... I'm thoroughly enjoying making all of these recipes and eating the results.

A simple Cinnamon Bun recipe to make this weekend.
A simple Cinnamon Bun recipe to make this weekend.
A simple Cinnamon Bun recipe to make this weekend.

The Cinnamon Bun Recipe 

INGREDIENTS

For the dough: 

400g Bread Flour
250ml Milk 
45g Butter 
1 Sachet Yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
Pinch of Salt

For the filling: 

45g Butter (Melted)
30g Sugar 
2 tbsp Cinnamon 

METHOD

1. Place the butter and milk in a mixing bowl and microwave until melted. 
2.  Once cooled down to a warm (not hot) temperature, add the yeast to the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. 
3. Add the sugar and salt.
4. Gradually add the flour, stirring gently. 
5. Once it's a thick consistency, tip the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead for a minute until it forms a ball. 
6. Place in an oil-coated bowl and cover with oiled cling film, and leave in a warm place for an hour. 
7. Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape. 
8. Mix the melted butter, sugar and cinnamon, and brush onto the dough. 
9. Tightly roll up the dough, and cut into 1-inch pieces. 
10. Grease a tin with butter, add the buns and bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes.


Ta-daaaaaa, how simple is that?! In my head, I always imagined Cinnamon Buns were going to be a really complicated thing to bake with lots of intricate steps, but they're really not. I highly recommend!


Have you ever made Cinnamon Buns?

A simple Cinnamon Bun recipe to make this weekend.

5 Things To Do For Your Blog During Lockdown

22 April 2020

Judging by the number of clicks I've had on my most recent blogging related post - 15 Lockdown Blog Post Ideas for Lifestyle Bloggers - it appears that people are very much interested in working on their blogs during this bizarre time. So, to continue this, I thought I'd compile a little list of other miscellaneous things you can do for your blog during lockdown... Shall we jump straight into it?

5 Things To Do For Your Blog During Lockdown including Google Analytics Training, SEO and Broken Link Checking.


5 Things To Do For Your Blog During Lockdown 


01 / Learn How to Use Google Analytics Properly 

I mean, fair enough if you're already a whizz and know the ins and outs of behaviour flow funnels, the difference between a property and a view, and can create your own dashboards in your sleep but I certainly didn't. So, I recently spent some of my free time doing one of Google's free training courses.

For anyone that's interested this Google Analytics for Beginners Course is the one I did and it took a few hours to complete. It was so useful and I genuinely learnt so much. Watch out, data kweeen coming through. But in all seriousness, understanding your reader's demographics, what pages they reach your site from, how long they spend on your blog and where they exit from is really useful to know for both creating future content and edits to current posts!


02 / Reply to All Comments 

I am SO guilty of reading through my blog comments as they come through but forgetting to go back to them and actually reply. I find Blogger doesn't work brilliantly on mobile which makes sitting down and getting back to people on my desktop more of a task, hence why it often gets overlooked... I know I'm just making excuses but replying to blog comments is one easy thing to be doing during these long days to help foster those online friendships and communities.


03 / Check for Broken Links 

When isn't there a good time to check for broken links? Every time you think you've made some good headway with clearing them, a quick check later and bam, another 80 to sort through. This is the Broken Link Checker that I use, but they're all much of a much. Clear those broken links, people! 


04 / Revisit Old Posts and Make Them More SEO Friendly 

I don't know about you but I'm alwaaays learning more and more about SEO and how to improve the content on my blog. When I first started writing these posts I had no idea about meta descriptions or the importance of file names, so it's fair to say a large chunk of the content here on Becc4 isn't search engine optimized. Now, going through and editing loads of old posts may not sound like the best way to spend an afternoon, but considering some of us have more free time than we know what to do with, now's the time to get to it!


05 / Start Pinning All of Your Blog Posts 

And when I say pinning, I mean properly pinning. Pinning your blog posts with optimised creative and copy, and onto relevant boards. Pinterest is my second biggest source of referral traffic so it's definitely worth getting into! I recently made pins for lots of my older, but popular, posts to help drive traffic to those. If you're still a bit lost with the whole Pinterest thing, I've written a whole blog post on How I Hit 3 Million Monthly Unique Viewers on Pinterest which is a great place to start, if I do say so myself!


And there we have it, 5 Things To Do For Your Blog During Lockdown... Which of these will you be making a start on first?

5 Things To Do For Your Blog During Lockdown including Google Analytics Training, SEO and Broken Link Checking.

How To Stay Productive When Working From Home

21 April 2020

Whilst some of us are furloughed, and others are still going to work as usual, there are quite a number of people who have suddenly found themselves working from home for the first time ever.

Now, besides studying for what feels like a lifetime, I only really have 3 months' experience of officially working from home. Last summer, I interned for my supervisor at University, working on one of his research projects. This internship was full-time - Monday- Friday - paid, and based from home.

During these three months we actually picked up Murph, so I was always trying to juggle being productive and getting things done, with having puppy cuddles, not being distracted by the beautiful weather and going to the beach, and scrolling on my phone for hours on end. Over the course of the three months, I picked up some tips and tricks that made staying on task that little bit easier so I thought I'd share them with you today in light of the current situation...

How To Stay Productive When Working From Home - four tips to help with productivity during lockdown.


How To Stay Productive When Working From Home 


Write To-Do Lists 

It's no secret I'm an absolute list-lover. I'm always making lists upon lists at work and, since lockdown, have even made an Instagram Story template for daily to-do lists. Whilst they don't help with actually getting the work done, they're great for setting up smaller tasks and working out what the fook you need to do each day and being a visual reminder of how much you do/don't have left to do. 

Take More Frequent Breaks 

These aren't normal times. We're in the middle of a pandemic for goodness sake. Working straight through from 9 til 5 with minimal human interaction and the same wall to stare at is hardly going to help with the ol' motivation levels. Get up, wander around, scroll your phone, get some fresh air! Doing this regularly, and working solidly in between, is a far more efficient use of your time. The Pomodoro Technique is a great one to check out if you've never worked like this before.

Set Up A Work Station 

We don't all have ergonomic chairs, multiple screens, and open-plan offices at home, but having a designated workspace definitely helps separate work from play, especially if you use your laptop for fun too. Clear a sideboard, your dressing table, a corner of the dining table and just set it up as your workspace. Do all of your work here and try and keep it as clutter-free as possible! 

Stick to Normal Working Hours

Now that a commute is out of the question it's often tempting to change up your working hours or spread your time unevenly throughout the week, and change it when you feel like it. Not only is a routine good for keeping you on track but it also means that your colleagues are also working at the same time as you, making it far easier to collaborate on projects, share ideas and ask questions. 


I can't say I massively thrive on working from home, I really enjoy having colleagues and people to chat to all day, but, in this weird time, I hope these four tips are helpful! 



How do you stay productive when working from home?

How To Stay Productive When Working From Home - four tips to help with productivity during lockdown.

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

18 April 2020

The UK is currently facing a flour shortage. These are words I didn't think I'd ever find myself typing, let alone during a global pandemic, but here we are. Seeing as the world and his wife is unable to get their hands on any flour, for this weeks' bake I thought we could test out this flourless cookie recipe. Yep, no flour needed here, baby! Coincidentally, this recipe also doesn't need any butter so these beauties were made entirely from things that we have laying around in the cupboards! 

Whilst they're called cookies and very much look like cookies, I'd actually say that they're more like meringues than cookies. They're light, but gooey and chewy, and pretty damn tasty if you ask me. Now, they taste even better after being warmed in the microwave for ten seconds - mmm mmmmmmm. 

Of all the recipes I've posted here on Becc4, these flourless chocolate chip cookies are by far the easiest to make and can be made, baked and tasted in twenty minutes, can I hear a hooray? No more slaving away in the kitchen for hours, I'm looking at you Biscoff Cheesecake

A flourless chocolate chip cookie recipe using all store cupboard ingredients.
A flourless chocolate chip cookie recipe using all store cupboard ingredients.
A flourless chocolate chip cookie recipe using all store cupboard ingredients.

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe 

INGREDIENTS:

180g Icing Sugar
35g Cocoa powder
1 egg (you only need the white)
2tsp Vanilla Extract
100g Chocolate (chopped into chunks)
Pinch of salt

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. 
2. Combine the icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a mixing bowl. 
3. Add the vanilla extract and egg white. 
4. Stir until a thick liquid is formed.
5. Add the chocolate chunks
6. Dollop onto a paper-lined baking tray, leaving space between each cookie.
7. Bake for 10 minutes and leave to cool on the tray. 


And there we have it, a suuuuuper simple, flourless chocolate chip cookie recipe! 

A flourless chocolate chip cookie recipe using all store cupboard ingredients.

The Gratitude Diaries 003

17 April 2020

And here we are... Easter has been and gone, and the UK is now in its fourth week of lockdown. I'm not going to lie, I feel like I've become adapted to this new way of life, and whilst I CANNOT wait for things to go back to normal, I do feel like I've slowly gotten the hang of this whole self-isolation thing.

A list of the things I'm grateful for in week 4 of lockdown!

The Gratitude Diaries 003 

Catching up with friends 

Over the last week or so I've made a real effort to check in with my pals and it has been so nice! Whilst we're all not doing a lot and have nothing to report, somehow I've managed to find myself chatting away for hours on end. When this is all over I'm 100% going on a friend visiting tour. 


Hot Cross Buns 

Some might say this is a slightly odd thing to include in a list of things I'm grateful for but here we are. Last week I made this Hot Cross Bun Recipe and, I'm going to blow my own trumpet here, they were pretty god damn delicious and I'd very much like to be eating one now.


Reading 

My excuse for not doing things is always that I don't have enough time. Well, now that I do have time, I'm finally crossing things off my April To-Do List. I've already finished one book this lockdown and dived into another, which considering I haven't finished a book in months, I'm pretty pleased with. In case you were wondering, I read Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had so many twists and turns, and there was no way I could have guessed what was coming! 


New projects 

I think the thing I'm most grateful for this week is the influx of new work I've received, even despite everything going on. Thank you, universe, I know I am very fortunate!! 


Great TV 

As previously mentioned, this time off has allowed me to catch up on my Netflix Watch List and so far I've managed to tick quite a few things off. I absolutely loved watching The Stranger, 10/10. The Nest was a great BBC series I'd recommend watching if you haven't, Killing Eve is back if you weren't aware, and my Mum and I are still loving The Crown. Maybe I have been missing out on this whole TV thing after all... 


Routine 

I've definitely developed a sort of Lockdown Routine and it's certainly helping the days go by quicker. I'm still getting up at my usual time and going to bed at my usual time and I think that's really helping in keeping things feeling at least somewhat normal... 




What are you grateful for this week?


My Lockdown Routine

14 April 2020

Last week I compiled a list of 15 Lockdown Blog Post Ideas for Lifestyle Bloggers and today I thought we could cross another one of those off that list. I have been furloughed by my employer, so it's fair to say my weekdays are a little different to usual.

I'm trying to stick to a somewhat normal routine in the hope that it'll make the transition back to 'normal life' a little easier when the time comes. But, rather being an hour by hour strict schedule, think of these as things I'm trying to squeeze into each day alongside the Netflix bingeing and the endless phone scrolling...

My Lockdown Routine - how I'm spending my days in self-isolation.


My Lockdown Routine 

I've been waking up at my usual work wake-up time, thank you body clock, and have been getting up, going downstairs and letting the dog out into the garden. I've then been fannying around downstairs for a while, before having some breakfast and a cup of tea, then doing some sort of exercise.

Recently, I've been really vibing Yoga as Roaccutane is giving me real muscle soreness and ain't nobody got time for that. I've been following a lot of Yoga with Adriene's videos and spend 40 mins max prancing around my room attempting some sort of stretching. If you're a total newbie like me, defo check her videos out, there are videos suitable for all sorts of abilities and can be done anywhere. (I'm normally found in my pjs, doing the warrior pose, on my bedroom floor.)

I've been getting dressed as usual - okay maybe not quite usual I've been avoiding jeans - but I've been trying to wear normal day to day outfits. I've been carrying out my full skincare routine but not wearing any makeup in the hope it'll help my skin, but occasionally I'll put a whole face of slap on if I'm feeling faaancy.

Then, throughout my day I'm doing a combination of any of the following things;

  • Reading some of my book
  • Writing up blog posts
  • Shooting content
  • Baking (this Biscoff Cheesecake took a long ol' while to make)
  • Tidying my room
  • Playing with Murph

In the evenings we'll have dinner, I'll take the dog out, and my Mum and I will watch another episode of The Crown, which can I just say, we are loving! It has been on my Netflix Watch List for the longest time and I'm so glad I've finally gotten round to watching it.

And there we have it, my lockdown routine. By no means is it anything wildly exciting nor is it anything life-changing, but it's how I've been spending my days in lockdown nonetheless...



What is your lockdown routine?
Do you have one?

My Lockdown Routine - how I'm spending my days in self-isolation.

The Tastiest Hot Cross Bun Recipe

9 April 2020

After last weeks' delightful Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe - that even Mary Berry would be proud of - I decided to set myself a little task of making and documenting one bake a week. Now, please don't hold me to this, but I thought it might be a nice way to a) pass some time and b) inspire you to get your pinny on and get baking. As I said in my last post, I'm by no means a baking extraordinaire nor do I have all of the fancy equipment, so if I can do it, you certainly can too!

Considering Easter is literally just around the corner, Hot Cross Buns were of course the only suitable bake for this week. I used this BBC Good Food Recipe and slightly adapted it, and am so happy with how they turned out! Honestly, by the end of lockdown I think I'll be considering a career change because who knew I could make things that taste this good...

Before I start, I'm just gonna be honest and say that these are a bit of a faff to make. The dough needs to rise three separate times for an hour and there are all sorts of other little fiddly steps, so, if you're tight on time or patience I'd head down to your local Asda and pick a packet up for a quid. That being said, I can 100% guarantee they won't be quite as good as these!

The tastiest hot cross bun recipe to make this Easter weekend.
The tastiest hot cross bun recipe to make this Easter weekend.

The Tastiest Hot Cross Bun Recipe

INGREDIENTS 

For the Buns:

300ml milk
50g butter 
500g strong bread flour 
1 tsp salt 
75g caster sugar 
7g sachet yeast
1 egg
75g sultanas 
50g mixed peel 
1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice 
½ tsp ground cinnamon 
½ tsp ground ginger

For the Cross 

75g plain flour

For the glaze 

3 tbsp apricot jam

METHOD

1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. 

2. Leave to cool until lukewarm. 

3. Put the bread flour, salt, caster sugar, and yeast into a bowl and make a well in the center. 

4. Pour in the warm milk and butter, then add the beaten egg. 

5. Mix with a wooden spoon, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

6. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. 

7. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. 

8. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, zest of the orange, cinnamon, ginger, and mixed spice.

9. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. 

10. Leave to rise for another hour covered by well-oiled cling film.

11. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and roll each into a smooth ball.

12. Place on baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. 

13. Cover with more oiled cling film and set aside for another hour.

14. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. 

15. Mix plain flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water gradually. 

16. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle - I used a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off - and pipe a cross on each bun. 

17. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

18. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt it, then brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.



Will you be trying out this Hot Cross Bun Recipe?
What was the last thing you baked?


The tastiest hot cross bun recipe to make this Easter weekend.

15 Lockdown Blog Post Ideas For Lifestyle Bloggers

8 April 2020

Before I start, I'd just like to say that people are free to spend this unprecedented time however they like. Whether you want to bake 17 banana breads (if there's any flour left in the supermarkets, that is) and write a novel, or spend the next few days/weeks/months doing nothing other than playing Animal Crossing, you do you. Be productive. Don't be productive. Just do whatever you fancy, I'm not here to tell you what you should and shouldn't be doing, and nor should anyone else on social media.

That being said, if you fancy spending some time putting together some content for your blog, I thought I'd compile a list of 15 lockdown blog post ideas to make getting started that little bit easier. If you do decide to write any of these, please do send them to me, I'd love to read them! This gal does have a little more time on her hands, after all... 

A list of 15 lockdown blog post ideas to write on your lifestyle blog during self-isolation.

15 Lockdown Blog Post Ideas

01 // Tips for Productivity 

It's fair to say that none of us are working at 100% at the moment (understandably) but any tips and tricks to help get things done would be more than welcomed, I'm sure. It's important not to forget that there are still lots of people working as usual, just from home! 


02 // Your Lockdown Routine 

I asked over on Instagram whether my followers were interested in reading a post on my 'lockdown routine' and the overwhelming response was yes! By no means is it a regimented hour by hour timetable but more a list of things I'm trying to do each day to keep some sort of structure and normality.


03 // A Room Tour 

We're all spending far more time at home, why not show it off? I wanna see what the four walls you're staring at each day look like and compare them to the ones I'm staring at. 


04 // Lists of Positive Things 

It's easy to forget that it's not all doom and gloom, good things are still happening and there are positives in every day. List them. Shout about them. Write a whole blog post about them. Positivity breeds positivity and all that. 


05 // Your Plans For When This Is All Over 

It's probably fair to assume that we've all spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the things we're going to do when this lockdown is over and normality is restored. I'm going to see pals, go out for every meal and have a browse of all of the shops, just because I can. What about you?


06 // Shows You're Currently Bingeing 

We all need a bit of inspiration when it comes to choosing something to watch. I'm yet to meet anyone who's watched even 80% of the stuff that's currently on Netflix, so there's always room for recommendations. 


07 // At Home Workout Ideas

If you've come across an at-home workout that's really good, or even devised your own, write it up. For me, finding a good workout plan always ends up taking more time than the actual workout, so having a list of good workouts all in one place would be really handy! 


08 // Book Reviews 

Lockdown has got those of us who don't normally read very often reading. I'm not very au fait with book blogging and didn't know what 'TBR' stood for until recently, but reading some book reviews really wouldn't go amiss right now.


09 // Recipes 

Baking a cake is a good way to pass a few hours. Baking and photographing a cake, and writing up the recipe, is a good way to pass more than a few hours. My Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe post took over a day to put together and I don't know about you, but I'd wholeheartedly say it was SO worth it. It's the tastiest thing ever and has had a fantastic response! 


10 // Self-Care Tips 

Looking after ourselves is now more important than ever. There has never been a better time to compile a list of self-care tips for your followers! 


11 // Your Current Playlist 

What are you listening to at the moment? Now that I've got more free time on my hand I've added creating a huge playlist to my April To-Do List and could do with all of the inspiration I can get. I don't know about you but I always find myself listening to the same couple of albums on repeat ALL THE TIME and need to change things up. 


12 // Local Businesses to Support in Your Area 

It's incredible to see all of the amazing things local businesses are doing to support people during these chaotic times. From florists handing out free bouquets to NHS workers to restaurants producing DIY meal kits to make at home. Why not collate a list of all the local businesses working hard at this time and support them in what they're doing?


13 // Your Meal Plan For The Week 

Now that we've been advised to only go shopping for essentials, and as infrequently as possible, getting organised with meals has suddenly become way more important. Write a list of all of the meals you're planning on making in the coming week and link to any recipes you've previously written!


14 // Lockdown Favourites 

A twist on the standard monthly favourites, why not round up all of the things you've been loving whilst in Lockdown. The books you've loved, shows you've watched, skincare products you've been reaching for or clothes that have had the most wear. Compile them all into one bumper post of recommendations perfect for this uncertain time!


15 // A Roundup of Great Blog Posts You've Read Recently

Shoutout your blogger pals, tell your followers about all of the other fab posts you've been reading recently and send your readers their way!



Want to spend even more time working on your blog? I've written a whole series of posts on blogging that will give you all sorts of ideas for your content and other things you can get started on today. Fancy just watching some Netflix instead? I don't blame you. Here's my Netflix Watch List to give you some inspiration...



What blog posts would you like to read during lockdown?
Have I missed any lockdown blog post ideas?



One Month on Roaccutane

7 April 2020

It feels like only yesterday I was being referred to see a dermatologist and here we are, one month into my Roaccutane treatment... Where has the time gone? In case you were interested, I've written up my Roaccutane Skincare Routine now that I've found a bunch of products that are working brilliantly for me!

One month on roaccutane - my experience taking isotretinoin.


~ Quick recap in case you're new around here: I've had acne in varying severities for over 6 years and have tried a whole range of treatments. I was on lots of different antibiotics for the majority of that time (yeppppp, probably not the best move) and tried pretty much all of the topical treatments under the sun. Nothing worked and I was eventually referred to see a dermatologist. ~

When I met him for the first time he advised that Roaccutane was probably the only thing that would make a significant improvement to my skin. This didn't come as any shock at alllllll, and if anything, I'd been wanting to go on Roaccutane to finally *hopefully* see the back of the acne, the antibiotics, and all the other lotions and potions I'd been trying. 

I was initially put on a 40mg dose - or two tablets - taken daily with a look to review it after the first month. I've since had this check-up and the dermatologist decided against upping the dose on account of the eczema I'd developed on my hands. Now, what with all of the extra corona handwashing etc we can't be certain it's entirely due to the Roaccutane but for the time being it definitely made the most sense not to up it again. I was advised that this might make the total length of treatment longer, but, I think I'd much rather that than try and tackle acne and eczema at the same time, especially as someone who's never had any sort of dry skin in their life.

Now, the thing you're probably all here for, the before and one-month-in photos:

One month on roaccutane - my experience taking isotretinoin.

As for the side effects, I, fortunately, haven't had anything too serious and everything has been more than manageable. I've had the expected dry skin, in particular, my lips and around my mouth, and have seen a massive reduction in oil production. Do you know what, it's great not to have a huge glistening forehead by lunchtime every day...

One thing I have noticed is just how dry the inside of my nose is. If I move my nose it constantly feels like its full of dry crusty bogeys... Sexy. Fortunately, I haven't had any nosebleeds yet, as I know they can be fairly common whilst on Roaccutane, and I can more than cope with a dry nose.

I've definitely been experiencing muscle soreness, particularly after any sort of vigorous exercise. Whilst this used to only last a day or two at most, whilst on Roaccutane this is lingering around for a lot longer. I've since decided to stop doing anything too high-impact and opt for walking/yoga to keep active. (The perfect excuse not to have to go out for a run, eh?)

And the big one, my mood. I haven't experienced any changes in my mood (despite everything going on) which I'm very very grateful for. I'm a very upbeat person and rarely get upset or down, and thankfully Roaccutane hasn't changed that. That being said, we're only a month in so let's not jinx anything... 

So far the treatment is absolutely working and all of the side effects are more than manageable, so far so good!


p.s. I've even got a smooth chin for the first time in probably about 10 years - can I get a hooray?

17 More Things To Do Whilst In Coronavirus Self-Isolation

5 April 2020

The last time I wrote a list of things to do whilst in coronavirus self-isolation the situation was a little different. We were advised to only be in quarantine if we were showing symptoms or had been to one of the affected areas. Fast forward to now and as of the 24th March we've all been in lockdown-that-hasn't-been-called-lockdown-but-is-pretty-much-lockdown, or lockdown for short, for a couple of weeks now. So, considering I have all of this extra time on my hands, I figured I'd compile another (more genuine) list of things that you can do to pass the time now that a lot of us are in the same boat...

A list of things to do whilst in coronavirus self-isolation to help pass the time.

17 More Things To Do Whilst In Coronavirus Self-Isolation 

1. Bake

Last week I just did that and created the sexiest thing I think I've ever eaten. In case you haven't already seen it, I've created my own Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe and it's honestly 10/10. Not only that, it passed a good few hours of my day! I've written up a few other recipes here on the blog, and I'd highly recommend giving these triple chocolate brownies a go if you haven't already. 

2. Unfollow, unfollow, unfollow

Now is the perfect time to have a spring clean of your social media accounts and unfollow anyone who is no longer bringing you joy. People grow out of other people, tastes change, and it's okay to remove someone's content from your timeline if you're no longer enjoying it. I'm going to set aside some time next week to do just this and ensure that every time I go on my phone, I'm only seeing posts I genuinely want to see!

3. Clean your mirror

I am so guilty of never cleaning my mirror, it's grim. I mean, I don't tend to notice it too much until I go to take a mirror selfie and bam, dust marks everywhere. It's not a particularly lengthy nor challenging task but once done you'll vow never to let it get like that again. (It probably will get like that again but that's an issue for another day). 

4. Adult colouring 

I've seen some absolutely fantastic adult colouring pages that would certainly waste an afternoon or two. I'm talking swirly floral swear words and all sorts of other interesting images - colouring isn't just for kids, my dudes!

5. Delete photos on your phone 

I mainly included this one as a personal reminder for myself. I need to do this. At the time of writing this post I currently have 38,000 photos on my phone. Nobody needs that many photos. I've got loads of old screenshots, duplicates where I've been trying to get 'the shot' and just loads of other rubbish that I definitely no longer need. 

6. Start a blog! 

If you haven't already got one, join the club! They're free to set up and are a great way to pass the time, and feel somewhat productive. If you couldn't already tell, I've been more active than ever over here on becc4.co.uk and it feels great. You could write about whatever you want from breakfast cereal reviews to your opinions on current affairs, your blog is your space and is a great free creative outlet. 

7. Nap

Not sure how to pass a few hours? A nap is always a great way to pass a few hours. 

8. Clear your inbox and unsubscribe 

Those emails you've been meaning to deal with for a while and those pesky email lists that you no longer want to be a part of? Now's a great time to go through them. If you're feeling super organised and really do want to waste a few hours, you could even set up really specific email folders and have everything in its own dedicated place. 

9. Create the playlist

The. Playlist. You know the one. The huge, perfect for any setting, full of all of your favourite songs playlist. Grab a few drinks and a speaker, open your music streaming software and get to work. I've been meaning to do this for the longest time and this lockdown might just be the time I finally get one made. 

10. Rearrange your bedroom/lounge/entire house

This one isn't exclusively for periods of self-isolation, I find myself doing this semi-regularly - is that weird? There's something really fun about moving everything around and creating what feels like a new space out of an old one. The reason it's in this list? It usually takes a long old while, the majority of which is spent discovering things under your bed you'd forgotten you ever had. 

11. Learn to French plait

I have never been able to French plait but this time off could be the time it finally happens. I'm not particularly gifted when it comes to any sort of hairstyle and a French plait is very much outside of my abilities, but watch this space... Might she be able to do it by the end of self-isolation?

12. Teach your dog a new trick

Poor old Murph has had us annoying him for the last couple of weeks, blissfully unaware that this might continue on for weeks on end. So far this lockdown I've managed to teach him to high five and I've started working on roll-over, but unfortunately for him, the list of tricks I'd like to teach him is pretty much endless.

13. Take note of everything in your cupboards/freezer/fridge

This might just be the most adult thing I've ever said on the blog. Is this it? Have I hit proper adulthood now? But yes, what with all this panic buying and only being able to shop for essentials, it's handier than ever to know exactly what's in your cupboards and what you're running out of.

14. Meal plan for the next week

Using your new-found knowledge of your cupboards and fridge, create a plan for your meals next week using lots of the things you'd forgotten you had. Wowcher, talk about efficiency. 

15. Hook out old photos 

I cannot tell you the last time I looked through physical photo albums. I mean, I look at photos on my phone fairly often and am always sharing them online, but old family photos? I never take the time to look through them. We've got albums and albums of memories stacked up in the cupboards, it would be nice to look at them all again! 

16. Sign up to an online class 

Want to try and use this time productively? Lots of sites - including the Open University - are offering tonnes of free online educational classes. Now is finally the time to study the fundamentals of biomedicine or the origins of religion, or whatever else it was that you've been wanting to know.

17. Get dressed up

I doubt we'll be heading to the club or any fancy bars anytime soon, but I really enjoy getting dressed up and doing my makeup, so why not do it for fun, eh? Surprise your family/flatmates/partner and turn up to the lounge in a bodycon and heels ready for a boogie. Joking aside, doing your hair, putting some makeup on and choosing a nice outfit is a great way to establish at least some normality!




What have you been doing to pass the time whilst in self-isolation?

The Gratitude Diaries 002

4 April 2020

I actually really enjoyed writing up my Gratitude Diaries post last week. It's often easy to forget the little things in life, and being in lockdown has really stripped things back. The highlights of my week are no longer huge shopping hauls or fancy meals with friends, they now include FaceTiming friends and baking. It's funny how times change, huh?

A list of the things I'm grateful for this week including my biscoff cheesecake recipe and facetiming good friends.



Five things I'm grateful for this week: 

Lighter evenings

The clocks went back and I can confirm it is now light in the evenings, can I hear a hooray? I was out walking Murph at 8pm the other evening and it wasn't pitch black. Summer is on it's way! As much as I love Christmas, I really am a summer gal through and through. 


Time to watch Netflix 

I've mentioned this a few times now, but I'm not usually a massive film or TV watcher. But, I am happy to announce that I am finally making my way through my Netflix Watch List and can confirm I've already crossed one show off and have started another! I would just like to take this moment to say that if you haven't already watched The Stranger, do so immediately! I watched the entire season in a day and was hooked, it's SO good!


Biscoff Cheesecake 

Last week saw me spend a fair while whipping up a new recipe and I am so so pleased with how it turned out. My Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe is hands down the tastiest thing I've ever made and I recommend you all give it a go ASAP, it's truly delicious. It's got a buttery but crunchy base, a light and moussey filling, and a shiny Biscoff topping. If we weren't social distancing and Paul Hollywood gave it a taste, I'm sure he would shake my hand to be honest. 


FaceTiming good friends

I've been catching up with lots of friends over the last week or so, and it's been lovely. Whilst no one has been up to much or has anything massive to report, it's been really nice just to see my pals and check in on them. 


Hanging out with my sis

My sister works nights at a mental health unit so tends to be awake when I'm asleep and vice versa. She has, however, had a couple of days of recently so it's been really nice to spend some time with her! As we've gotten older we've become a lot closer and she genuinely is one of my favourite people to hang out with. I also really like to spend my time deliberately annoying her, so there's that too.



What are you grateful for this week?

The Best Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe

3 April 2020

I'm just going to cut to the chase, this Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe is hands down the sexiest thing I've ever made. Look at it! The base is buttery but crunchy, the filling is light and creamy, and the topping? Well, it's pure Biscoff so I'm sure you don't need me to tell you it's pretty god damn good too. 
I think this could well be the first cheesecake I've ever made from scratch, and lemme tell you, it's a gooden. I loosely followed a few different recipes but ultimately sort of just made my own up as I went along... I did, however, write it all down so that I could share it with you. If you only do one thing this lockdown, I think it should be making this Biscoff Cheesecake, it's phenomenal. 

The best biscoff cheesecake recipe. An easy, delicious bake using little equipment and the infamous Biscuit spread.

How long does this Biscoff Cheesecake take to make?

For the best results, you ideally need this cheesecake to set overnight in the fridge, so I’d highly recommend making this cheesecake the day before you’d like to serve it. That being said, if you can’t wait to eat it, I’d leave it for a good 4 hours in the fridge to set before digging in. 

The best biscoff cheesecake recipe. An easy, delicious bake using little equipment and the infamous Biscuit spread.

Do I need Smooth or Crunchy Biscoff?

I personally used a mix of the two, but would definitely recommend smooth if you’d like that shiny, sleek topping! 

The best biscoff cheesecake recipe. An easy, delicious bake using little equipment and the infamous Biscuit spread.

What baking equipment do I need for this Biscoff Cheesecake?

For this cheesecake, I used an electric hand whisk, two mixing bowls and a springform tin. Whilst the latter isn’t necessarily essential, if you want to serve the cheesecake on a plate, it makes getting it out a whole lot easier! 

The best biscoff cheesecake recipe. An easy, delicious bake using little equipment and the infamous Biscuit spread.

Is this Biscoff Cheesecake easy to make?

Yes! Everything is sort of mixed together and then just chucked in the fridge for the magic to happen, it couldn’t be easier!

The Best Biscoff Cheesecake Recipe 

INGREDIENTS 

For the base:

300g Digestive Biscuits 
150g Unsalted Butter 

For the filling: 

400g Soft Cream Cheese
300ml Whipping Cream 
250g Biscoff 
75g Icing Sugar 
Pinch of Salt 

For the topping: 

Remaining Biscoff in Jar  


METHOD 

For the base:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line your springform tin

2. Crush the digestive biscuits in a bag using a rolling pin 

3. Place the unsalted butter in a pan over a low heat and stir until fully melted

4. Add in the digestive biscuit crumbs until the mixture is fully combined

5. Pour the mixture into the lined tin, press down until flat, and bake for 10 minutes. 

6. Wait for the base to cool. 


For the filling: 

7. Whip the whipping cream using an electric mixer until stiff peaks form and refrigerate until you are ready to use it 

8. Mix together the soft cream cheese, biscoff, icing sugar and salt 

9. Gently fold in the whipping cream being careful not to overmix
10. Pour the filling on top of the cooled base and smooth with the back of a spoon
11. Place in the fridge (ideally overnight) to set 


For the topping: 

12. Melt the remaining Biscoff in a small bowl in the microwave 

13. Pour on top of the cheesecake, spreading it evenly across the top. (FYI: It sets pretty fast, so you need to move quickly!)

14. Place back in the fridge to set for a further hour or so, and voila! One Biscoff Cheesecake ready to serve. 


If you make this cheesecake, I’d LOVE to see some photos and hear what you think! 



What other Biscoff recipes would you like me to try?


The best biscoff cheesecake recipe. An easy, delicious bake using little equipment and the infamous Biscuit spread.

The April To-Do List

2 April 2020

I was going to start this post in my usual cliche 'oh didn't last month fly by' fashion, but, let's be real, March was the longest month known to mankind. 

I haven't written a monthly to-do list since June last year - ooooops - but figured now was the best time to bring them back, seeing as lockdown is providing most of us with a lot more spare time than usual. If I'd written a monthly to-do list for February, it would've been something along the lines of: go to work, try really hard at work and get lots of work done at work... Not quite as riveting, eh? So, seeing as I now have weekdays and weekends free, there's more than enough time to get stuck into some other things! Let's jump into my April to-do list, shall we?

Five things that are on my April to-do list including becoming a one-time car mechanic and the next Photoshop whiz.


Post most days here on the blog

As most of you will know, I actually work in digital marketing so even when I'm at work, I find myself writing blog posts and working on content ideas, which is really cool. But, seeing as I'm not doing any of that at the moment, I have a) plenty of time and b) loads of creativity left to get posting most days here on becc4.co.uk. What with the current situation, we're not going to be posting any more hauls nor any fashion wishlists around these parts, we're spending the next few months in loungewear with greasy hair, agreed?


Sort my car out

I went to move Phil the mighty Fiesta along the drive the other day and he just wouldn't start. I'm hoping that it's just because the battery needs replacing and nothing too serious, but I also have no idea and might just be chatting pure shite. I've never been known for my automotive expertise but I'm going to watch a few YouTube tutorials and have a go at sorting it out myself... It can't be that difficult, can it?!


No unnecessary shopping online

Not only do I not actually need any more clothes/makeup/anything but seeing as I'm not going anywhere soon, there really is no need at all. Whilst we're all sat at home, hiding away and staying safe, the poor delivery drivers are busier than ever. And, let's be honest, I'm sure they don't want to be delivering me - and the rest of my town - an Asos parcel, a box from Superdrug and a New Look order every day. So, for the month of April, I'm going to try and not make any unessential online orders! 


Read!

I include 'read more' in pretty much all of my 'goals for the year' posts and my monthly to-do lists but never really seem to get it ticked off. My typical excuse? I don't have the time to just sit and read. Well, news flash Becca, you definitely have the time now. I actually bought a couple of random books at my local charity shop just before this all kicked off, so I really have no excuses not to get this one done. 


Teach myself some Photoshop

I've mentioned this before, but I'd really like to teach myself a few things on Photoshop. Mainly so that the graphics I do produce are a little less tragic. I mean, I'm not expecting to be the next digital Banksy, but if I could put a few cool images together every now and again, that would be great! 



What is on your April to-do list?
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