Food | Chocolate Popcorn Shards

These crave-worthy Chocolate Popcorn Shards are one of my favourite treats to make and serve at the moment. They're ever so quick and simple to make (using a mere three ingredients), and just the definition of delicious.
 
The shards make a wonderful treat to pop into a bowl and serve at a gathering or to simply enjoy by yourself as a bit of a lovely treat (I'm quite partial to making a batch and enjoying it during a particularly long shit at work). This is a recipe that can be easily altered to suit your tastes, you could even try it with mini eggs or a similar product for an Easter treat as we get closer to that time of year.
 

Ingredients
400g Dark Chocolate^
20g Salted Popcorn
20g Berry Mix
 
Equipment
Baking Tray
Baking Paper or Tin Foil
Large Heatproof Bowl
Pan
Wooden or Plastic Spoon
 
 ^(Milk or White will also work wonderfully if they float your boat slightly more)
 
1) First things first, get your equipment all ready for the project ahead. You can prepare the baking tray by lining it with a layer of baking paper or tin foil. In regards to the pan, fill it just under halfway full of water (to ensure that when placed in the pan, the bottom of the bowl will not rest in the water) and put it on to simmer.
 
2) The first step in creating the shards is melting your chocolate. Break all 400g up into squares and pop it into the bowl then leave it to melt into a gorgeous chocolate mess, making sure to stir it every now and again.
 



3) Once the chocolate has all been melted, remove it from the hob and proceed to pour it into the baking tray; aiming to cover the whole surface. You may need to move the tray about a little bit, or even tap it on the work surface, to ensure that the liquid is as flat as possible.
 


4) The next step is to scatter the popcorn and the dried fruit evenly across the chocolate.
 
5) Pop the tray in the fridge to set. This shouldn't take too long, just over thirty minutes.
 
6) To complete the treat, break the chocolate into shards and enjoy (I'll admit that I did forget to photograph this step as I was too busy enjoying these delights; you'll forgive me when you taste them).


What's your current favourite treat to make?

Travel | Travel Essentials with Flo Accessories*

One of my biggest aspirations for 2016 is to travel more, not only in the UK but hopefully beyond into Europe.


I thought I'd take the opportunity to share with you a couple of the bits and pieces offered by Flo Accessories that any jet setter needs.

A product that particularly caught my eye was the 5ml Perfume Atomizer*, which I predict is going to become a solid staple in my bag both when I'm travelling the world and enjoying life at home. I'm someone who wears perfume every day without fail and do love being able to give it another spritz every now and again as the day goes by. But, it can be a bit of a struggle to cart around a delicate, heavy (and normally expensive) perfume bottle, which is where this refillable atomizer comes in handy. The atomizer is small enough to fit into your suitcase or hand luggage with ease, leaving you with more space to fill with whatever holiday essentials your heart desires. And don't you worry your pretty little head about being caught out at airport security, this little beauty is carry-on approved. Even when you're at home, the atomizer is bound to come in handy. It would make a wonderful addition to a clutch bag on a night out, providing you with an ever so easy way to top up your favourite scent whilst you party the night away. Let's get to the technicalities shall we? At the centre of the atomizer is a fancy glass receptacle which is cased by a strong exterior meaning that your perfume is kept safe and secure wherever it goes on its travels. It's also easy peasy to transfer the perfume of your choosing from its original home into the atomizer,



I'd also like to note that if a rollerball application floats your perfume-wearing boat slightly more, Flo Accessories also offer that alternative; the choice is yours.


The 5ml Perfume Atomizer* retails at £9.95 and is available for purchase online here.
 
Exploring new destinations provides prime photo-taking opportunities, so to ensure you're ready for your time in front of the camera a good mirror is an essential for your handbag. Flo Accessories offer a beautiful Celebrity LED Mirror* which counts eight powerful LED lights (creating almost a pocket size dressing-room mirror) and a 2x magnification mirror as some of its wonderful features. Not only that but it also has a free-standing base, enabling hands free use. Of course one of the most important things to look for when purchasing a compact mirror is the size of the product, and this is the perfect fit. It's small enough to fit in your handbags yet you are still gifted mirrors of a more than decent size; it's the best of both worlds.



The Celebrity LED Mirror* retails at £11.95 and is available for purchase online here.

What are some of your essential items for travelling?

*Disclaimer: This product was kindly gifted by Flo Accessories, for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions shared on Yours, Chloe x are always honest and unbiased regardless of whether or not the product has been gifted to me.

"Dear 18 Year Old Me" | Antonia from Charismatones

Message From The Editor: 2016 is the year that I turn the grand old age of eighteen (I know - young blogger alert). I'm a May baby so I have roughly four months and counting until adulthood begins and to say I feel unprepared is the understatement of the century. It's fair to say that I feel desperately in need of some advice and wisdom from those who have already completed this year of their life, so in my time of need I have turned to the blogging community. For the foreseeable future, every Sunday here on Yours Chloe is going to play host to a different guest blogger who have taken the time to compose a letter to their eighteen-year-old self sharing some of the wisdom they have amassed in their years since turning 18. Some of the letters have taken on themes such as relationships, education, friendships etc. and some of the letters have simply combined said topics and more to create a collection of general pieces of advice. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading each of the posts I've been sent for this series and I really do hope you have a similar experience, regardless of the place in life you currently find yourself at. Yours, Chloe x
 

I think when you reach a certain age, you tend to look back and think ... Hmmm I wish someone had told me that or I wish I did / didn't do that. That of course comes with the benefit of hindsight, which happens to be a wonderful thing when you come to know it. But hindsight is not something one thinks about when they are 18 and even if someone did tell you their pearls of wisdom, let's face it you probably won't pay attention anyway... I know I didn't 99% of the time.  

So when the lovely Chloe asked if I wanted to collaborate on the "what would you tell your 18 year old self" series, I jumped! There are loads of things I wish I had done, listened to and the like. But finding out these things for yourself is part of growing up and it would be boring if you just followed the advice of others all the time!  So here are the things I would tell me old 18 year old self as a much wider 30 year old!

1) You aren't as mature as you think you are!
At 18 I thought I was amazingly mature, I don't know what I thought happened, midnight struck on my 18th birthday and I suddenly knew everything. Yeah right! I did not know everything, and most importantly it was ok that I didn't know everything.  

2) Don't rush to grow up! 
I would actually say this to my 13 year old self too. You spend your whole teenage life trying to be and act older than you are. Hating it when people supposedly treat you like a child however, as soon as you turn 30, like me, you wish you were 18-21 again. You're world is made when you are asked for ID and you want to cry when presents consist of anti aging cream. Chill out, enjoy your age for what it is, old age and everything that comes with it will be with you sooner than you would like and stay with you for a lot longer than you are young and carefree.  
 
3) You don't have to go to university! 
I went and I was encouraged to go and I wouldn't change any of my time or experiences there but you don't have to go. You don't grow up at a disadvantage, especially now, there are alternatives... Explore them all!  

4) Don't waste your time trying to be popular! 
I wasted so much time trying to be popular and hang with the popular crowd! Urgh waste of my time and energy! Be yourself and enjoy your own company, people will see your confidence and be drawn to you! 

5) You are not defined by the number of friends you have!  
I guarentee you that you will realise your true friends will be few and far between. These are the people you want in your life. The ones that think of you, the ones you can call at 3 in the morning, the ones that you can be disgusting around and the ones that will be equally horrific with you! These are the friends that will last you for ever!  

6) Don't be fake
It takes for more effort to fain interest in things and people just because you think you have to than just being yourself! You will love yourself for being true to you!  

7) The concept of "finding yourself" is rubbish! 
In short don't expect to find yourself anytime soon, you won't do it at 18 or at university. It just doesn't happen, also what's the rush anyway?  

8) Do something that scares you! 
Make memories and have experiences, this is the time you should try new things, experience something new - you only regret the things you don't do.  

9) Your family are your best friends. 
Appreciate them, visit them and have fun with them. Make memories! They are the people that will always be there for you. Don't forget that! And remember the advice and tips your parents give you... They're more than likely right!!

10) Trust your instincts!  
You will always know when something doesn't feel right. Trust that feeling and never do something that you don't feel right about. And that funny feeling you have about someone that makes you unsure of them ... Go with it!!  

11) You are Never too old for Disney! 
Enough said!!


12) Forgive but don't forget  
Don't hold onto negativity, forgive those that treat you badly but don't forget what they did. You don't need the grudge hanging over you - so ditch the haters they aren't worth it!  

12) Fall in love
Chances are at 18 it won't be your final love but don't be afraid to fall in love. It's amazing! But be afraid of potential heart ache either, it's part of life live it, learn from it, but never stop yourself from falling in love! 

13) Believe in yourself  
Have confidence in yourself and in your intelligence. If you believe in yourself then others will too ... But don't confuse this with arrogance ... That is not a good quality in anyone.  

14) There is more to life than what's happening on social media.  
Remember to step out of the matrix! I was lucky when I was 18 there was no Facebook or Twitter or anything like that. Whilst it's good to be connected, just remember there is a real world out there full of things for you to DO and not just see on your feed!!  

15) Balance is key
In everything, health, wealth, happiness.  
Eat healthy but have a cheat day, save but treat yourself, be good to others and take care of yourself!!  

Antonia writes a lifestyle blog at www.charismatones.com

Books | Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

If you remember back to the end of 2015, I shared with you lovely lot my 'To Read in 2016 List' which contained a grand total of fifty-two books (that's one book per week for all those who don't count maths as one of their strongest subjects) that I hope to get my nose into over the next year. In said post I did make the promise of regular books reviews as I progress through the challenge and I'm happy to say that today marks the day of the first review.
 
Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a book that has held a spot on my to-read list for a little while now so it seemed only fitting to let it take on the role as the first book I read as part of my challenge. Not only that but the book has a bit of a festive theme to it, which made it a perfect read for the beginning of January.
 

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favourite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
 
First things first, the idea behind this story is truly wonderful. It was a breath of fresh air to hear of a love story with the traditional foundations of the written word as opposed to a tinder profile or the likes. Plus, as a self-confessed bookworm, the concept of meeting a romantic interest in a bookshop is dream-like. I feel like the plot line also highlights the idea of falling in love with an idealised view of a person as opposed to the person themselves, which was something that I hadn't seen before in a novel within this particular genre.
 
Unfortunately, despite the wonderful premise, the execution of the tale was far less up my street. Now I don't like writing negative reviews on a piece of literary work, as I believe that any piece of the written word holds wonderful value regardless of my personal opinion on its contents, but I hold several opinions on Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares that I'd like to voice regardless.

 
The book features two protagonists; Dash (who's perspective is written by Levithan) and Lilly (as authored by Cohn) who narrate alternating chapters. I'm disappointed to say, however, that I disliked both of them.
 
Every time I open the pages of a YA Romance novel I hope to find a male lead with heart and personality, who leaves me falling ever so slightly in love with him (with Peter in To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and Jase from My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick being prime examples). To be able to, on some level at least, understand the attraction of the primary love-interest to the protagonist really helps me to get into the novel and leaves me rooting for a happy ending for the pair. Unfortunately, this particular box was merely brushed over by the character of Dash. Whilst I'll admit that I did end up liking him to some extent come the end of the novel where he shows at least some element of the traits of a gentleman through his desire to ensure that Lilly gets home safely when in a vulnerable state, it ultimately wasn't enough to put him in my good books. If I'm honest I found the character of Dash to be a tad on the pretentious side, and far too whiny for my liking.
 

In terms of Lilly, I found her to be a thoroughly immature character with simply no depth; and don't get me started on the concept of her wearing one boot and one trainer whilst out in public, as a lover of fashion it angered me beyond belief.
 
I like a plot-line that keeps my attention with a fast pace and regular unexpected events, but in Dash and Lilly's Book of Dares I found myself reading what felt like a series of long mopey essays pieced together with a brief snippet of adventure. The novel also seemed to feature countless events that were of little value to the overall story (for example - Dash's encounter with a group of snowball-holding children whilst carrying a bag of yogurt).
 
To refrain from ending on a completely negative note, I would also like to note that I enjoyed Levithan's (brief yet well-written) exploration of the concept of a young boy and girl sleeping together "looking not for sex but for comfort". Sex can play such a strong role within relationships featured within YA Romance novels, so it was delightful to see a novel almost disregard it and focus its attentions on the other important elements of love.
 
Have you read Dash & Lilly's Book of Dares? What did you think?

DIY | Jar of Happiness

When the clocked struck midnight on New Years Eve, closing the door on 2015 and welcoming in the grand old year of 2016, I made a secret vow to myself: 2016 is going to be a year of happiness.

The start of a new year always creates a time of reflection on the three hundred and sixty five days prior. Everyone wants to look back on the past year and feel a sense of achievement. In full retrospect of 2015, it wasn't the best of times for me. There were struggles within a number of areas of my life and, if I'm completely honest, they tend to be the things I focus on when I think back over the year.


But I'm passionate about the idea that it truly is the little things that make life special. The seemingly tiny insignificant details and events of each day, the ones that put a smile on your face for whatever reason; they're of great importance too and each memory of such things should be valued.

2016 is going to be an ever so busy year for me with turning the grand ol' age of eighteen, sitting my A Levels and (fingers crossed) starting university. Despite having a hundred and one important things to be getting on with this year, a concept which stresses me out to the core let me assure you, I'm completely determined that my primary focus this year is myself and my own happiness. Besides, even during these hard times I'm certain that there's still going to be some rather great moments along the way; times full of happiness that just need to be remembered.
 
To make sure that I remember the best moments of 2016, both big and small, I've decided to make the effort to record as many of them as I can over the course of the year. Then, when I'm having one of those tough days that we all face sometimes, I can simply open up the jar and have a little read of a few of my 'best bits' of the year so far. Reminding myself of the good times should work real wonders at lifting my spirits whilst making me feel ready to take on the world and create even more wonderful memories to add to the jar.



This project is of course pinterest inspired (which ticks off part of one of my tasks on my 101 in 1001, might I add) but I've tried to be creative with the materials I've used and all that jazz. So many variations of the 'Jar of Happiness' exist within the blogging and pinterest worlds alike and I've been really loving reading lots of different takes on such a simple idea.

Of course when a new DIY project was calling I popped off to the heaven of the crafting world that is Hobbycraft (which also offers a 10% student discount: win win). As someone who could easily navigate themselves around their local Hobbycraft with their eyes closed, it only took a couple of minutes for me to get my hands on the bits I needed to create the jar.

I decided to use a Glass Storage Jar that features a chalk board front to provide an easy way for me to display the title of the project. In terms of decorating the jar I wanted to go for something simple yet pretty and, when craving a bit of a vintage shabby chic feel, I took myself over to the wedding aisle. To achieve a vintage-style I popped a handful of brown Heart Stickers around the jar and stuck a single piece of Newsprint Heart Confetti in the centre of each one. To complete the look I popped a simple Silver Embellishment in the middle of each decorative heart.


In terms of the cards I'm going to be using inside of the jar, I picked up a rather large bunch of Small Ivory Gift Tags and a small White Metal Bucket to store them all in.

I've already noted down a handful of events and memories from the year so far and popped them inside of the jar and I'm really looking forward to seeing the contents of the jar grow and grow as the year goes by.
 
 Who knows what things are going to end up noted down and popped in the jar for safe keeping; only time will tell.

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