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Instagram Thailand Round Up

Hi everyone, I’m home from Thailand!  We had a fantastic time and I will get around to posting photos in the next few weeks.  In the meantime I thought I’d do my first Instagram post using some of the photos I posted while I was away….

1. Excited for our holiday!
2. Sparkling wine at Heathrow.
3. From the train North out of Bangkok.
4 & 5. Old temples at Sukhothai.
6. Rice paddy.
7. My new bracelet.
8. From inside our mosquito net at the homestay.
9. Beautiful temple in Chiang Mai.
10. Chiang Mai night market – amazing!
11. Another stunning temple.
12. Hot pink leather interior of a Bangkok taxi!
13. Feet of the massive Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkkok.
14. 5am breakfast after a night train.
15. Arriving at Koh Phangan.
16 & 18. View from the hotel restaurant!
17. Than Sadet Beach on Koh Phangan.
19. Huge rainstorm in Koh Tao – hard to capture!
20. Pool in our Koh Samui hotel.
21. Palm trees at the pool side.


I’m off to Thailand!!!

Today is the day we  finally leave for Thailand! I can’t wait!  Our flight isn’t until ten this evening but we’re getting to Heathrow quite early, mainly because I’m paranoid about the coach breaking down but also so that I can fit in some last minute airport shopping (but Nick doesn’t know that yet…!).  We’re flying to Oman and then changing plane to get to Bangkok.  We’ll spend a couple of days in Bangkok before traveling around for just over two weeks and then finishing up with five days on the beach.  I’m so excited!  I’ve got a couple of posts scheduled for while I’m away and will probably be around on Twitter and Instagram when I can find Wifi. (If you want to follow me on Instagram my username is helenasblog.)  See you in three weeks!!! :-)


Summer Essentials: Bug Spray!

The worst thing about holidays is getting bitten by all those bugs!  I really hate having itchy bites so have invested in a few different insect repellents this summer.

Jungle Formula Maximum
When I went to get my injections done for Thailand, the nurse told me I needed to get a bug spray containing at least 50% DEET which this one does.  I’m not entirely sure why DEET sprays are better than non-DEET sprays but I don’t think it’s worth ignoring the nurse as I didn’t get the malaria vaccination so don’t want to catch that!  This spray has a pretty strong smell and lasts up to 10 hours.  Hopefully it does the job.

Ultrathon Insect Repellent

This one contains 35% DEET.  I took it to Kos and only got one bite during the whole week.  Again it has a strong smell but I think that’s better than having bites which itch for weeks after you get home from holidays!

Kiwiherb Herbal Insect Repellent

This insect repellent is natural so doesn’t contain any DEET.  I prefer to use natural products wherever possible but got this one before the nurse told me I’d need a spray with 50% DEET.  It smells much better than the other two – kind of like aniseed/liquorish mixed with lemon – so it’s a shame it isn’t strong enough for me to use in Thailand!



Here are some photos from our trip to Kos which I mentioned in my NOTW post a couple of weeks ago.  I went with my sister (Maddie), mum, stepdad and two step brothers (Tom and Matt) and stayed at the Aegean Village in Kardamena.  The weather was stunning all week and we didn’t see a cloud the entire time we were there.  We spent most of our time relaxing by the pool or at the beach opposite the hotel but we also took the local bus into the main town of Kos one evening and Maddie, Tom and I went on a guided coach tour organised by Thompson one day.  The coach took us around a couple of villages as well as to a family run honey factory, the Asklepion and a traditional Greek house turned museum which was really interesting.  Anyway, here are the photos… I hope they don’t take too long to load!


Help – Accommodation Needed in Aberdeen?!

I had a really lovely time in Kos and will get round to posting photos as soon as I have some spare time!

Right now I’m going to ask for your help.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before but I am moving to Aberdeen with Nick to start my first graduate job.  The job starts on September 3rd and we will be in Aberdeen for 6 months before moving to Kent.  We’re having real trouble finding a flat to rent and lots of the letting agents we’ve spoken to have been very unhelpful.  We’ve been told that there are more people needing flats than flats themselves so presumably they are being let regardless of how helpful the letting agents are!

We’re moving up from Cardiff which is making it difficult to arrange viewings.  We thought about flying up for a day next week but all of the viewings we had made have now been cancelled as the properties have been let already!  We’ve been searching for weeks and weeks now and are starting to get a bit desperate.

I thought maybe if this post gets tweeted and shared around we might be able to find a landlord or agency that could help?!

Here is a list of what we are looking for:

  • Modern, 1 bedroom flat
  • Furnished
  • 6 month lease
  • Walking distance to the city centre (we’ve been told Rosemount and Union Grove are good areas)
  • Parking
  • Up to £700 per month
  • We are non smokers and have no pets!

We’d really like to have a flat sorted, with the deposit paid, before our trip to Thailand – we’re leaving next Friday.

I’d be so, so grateful if you could tweet or share this post in some way.  You can contact me through Twitter @hels89 or email  Thank you in advance!



After 4 years at university, yesterday I graduated with a Master of Engineering in Engineering Mathematics with First Class Honours! It was a really nice day and the sun even managed to come out for a while as well. Here are a few photos…..

I’m off to Kos in a few hours so haven’t got much time to write anything else at the moment…. need to start packing!


Devilishly Delicious Chocolate Cake

Last weekend my sisters and I made a birthday cake for our mum. It turned out really well so I thought I’d post the recipe for you. The recipe is from a book I had for my birthday back in November called the Chococo Chocolate Cookbook by Claire Burnet. The cake we chose was the Devilishly Delicious Chocolate Cake – with a name like that who wouldn’t want to make it!?

Cake Ingredients
225ml full fat milk
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g cocoa powder
100g unsalted butter
225g golden caster sugar
3 eggs

Frosting Ingredients
200g dark chocolate
250g mascarpone
1-2 tbsp sifted icing sugar


 Cake Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease two 20cm sandwich tins.
  2. Pour the milk into a jug with the lemon juice and leave to sour while you prepare the rest of the cake.
  3. Sift flour, bicarb of soda and cocoa powder into a bowl.
  4. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs and beat.
  5. Fold the soured milk and flour alternatively into the egg mixture.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake for 25 minutes.


Frosting Method

  1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before adding the mascarpone and icing sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Then use to sandwich the cakes together and ice the top and sides.  (Make sure the cake is cool before you ice it!)
  4. We decided to add strawberries and mini marshmallows to decorate.

Easter Cakes

I thought I’d show you some of the cakes I made with my sister for Easter.  We made raspberry cupcakes with whipped dark chocolate ganache icing and some corn flake cakes.  I was going to post the recipe for the cupcakes but they didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped which I think was because my dads oven is a bit useless, but might have been because I sort of made the recipe up as I went!  I’ll try them again soon in a different oven before I post a recipe for you.


Picnic in the Sun

Yesterday was a really lovely sunny day so I took a few hours out of working on my dissertation to go for a picnic in Roath Park (Cardiff).  Here are some of the photos we took…..



Yesterday Nick and I took a trip to Reading for an Off Road Segway Experience with Berkshire 4×4 which I was given for my birthday!  Segways are those two wheeled, self balancing machines which you control by leaning.  I thought I’d be rubbish but they were actually really easy to control so we had a great time.  The weather was lovely and sunny yesterday which made it even better and we even managed to sit outside with an ice cream at the end!

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