Better gradu-LATE than never

I’ve finished uni.


I’ve bloody finished uni.


Sorry, it still won’t sink in.

To think a year ago I struggled to even get out of bed each day, to even shower, or eat. To think as little as 6 months back I was having suicidal thoughts intrude my mind daily. Yet, here I am.

I’m not saying I’m as right as rain. My depression was never going to be a short-lived thing; it was, and is always going to be, something to be managed. And that’s okay.

But look at me, look at where I am. I am a soon-to-be law graduate. (I mean, seriously?! Yes, seriously. Pinch yourself woman, it’s happened.) After years of hard work, many struggles with my mental health, and not to mention a bit of that good ol’ cliché heartbreak, you got there. If I say so myself, I deserve a medal, but I’ll settle for the very expensive bit of paper verifying I am, in fact, Meg Manganaro LLB.

“If it is right, it happens. The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

I kept this saying by me, especially in my final few months of study. I had previously really struggled with the fact I had to take an extra external year to complete my final modules. I’m a perfectionist, so the fact I hadn’t finished my degree within the allotted three years destroyed me. The fact I couldn’t cope with the same amount of stress that my peers were under was mortifying. I branded myself a failure before even beginning that extra year. I felt such shame and embarrassment, which was absurd seeing as I would never think that of anyone else going through the same circumstances as me. It just shows how easily we can put ourselves under immense amounts of pressure and punish ourselves for things which are out of our control.

It wasn’t an easy year by any means. I was out of the ‘uni bubble’, meaning talking to any peers or lecturers was via email/phone or a trek over to Wales. I’m lucky that my parents put me up back at home rent-free (minus the occasional payment in coffee cake which I was happy to oblige to), but home is sleepy West Sussex – so, although beautiful, any ‘local’ friends still lived an hour away or were away at uni themselves. It was incredibly lonely, which made everything all the more overwhelming. These feelings were only intensified when the relationship with my boyfriend broke down and we decided to part ways. It is incredibly difficult to support someone suffering with their mental health, and we both recognised our relationship simply couldn’t handle the strain. For a long time – actually, being honest – even now it kills me that my depression was ultimately the reason the relationship came to an end. It’s very hard when you love someone to allow your head to rule over your heart, as corny as that sounds. Inevitably my self-esteem hit rock bottom. It was impossible not to wonder whether my mental illness rendered me unlovable, or at least harder to love.

So, I definitely still suffered with dark days, especially as I came to realise that my medication didn’t suit me. Gosh, finding the right anti-depressant can be a minefield. I can safely say it took a good year of trialling different pills until I reverted back to Fluoxetine, this was the pill I was first placed on at 16 and is by far the most effective for me. I went back to this only in February of this year, a mere three months before my exams would start – and thank goodness I did, because I don’t think I would have completed my exams otherwise. I noticed such an improvement in my mood, and so did those around me. It gave me that boost I needed, made me less anxious, and gave me much, much better concentration levels. Best of all, the dark thoughts I had about my future, if I’d hurt myself, or worse, had lessened. I could see my future. I was going to get this darn degree. I could finally sit down and revise, which in turn made me feel better because I was being proactive. I would take myself on runs, which also boosted my mood – as much as I hate to admit when I’ve been wrong, I was SO wrong about exercising, it really is worth it!

I continued to study hard, having dips here and there when it would get all a bit too much. However, somewhat miraculously, I found that I could have a panic attack but I could gather myself and turn it back around. The day didn’t have to be a write-off. I worked bloody hard, learning not just the intricacies of copyright law or resulting trusts, but how my mind worked.

When it finally came to my exams, I was flipping terrified. This was it. The past long two years had led to this. Two more exams and I’ll have done it. The first exam went without a hitch. The second one, however, was a completely different story. I arrived at the exam hall feeling very nervous: I didn’t naturally click with Intellectual Property, my relationship with it was rocky to say the least. But this was the final exam. I had the mindset that whatever happened, it didn’t matter anymore, because just sitting that exam would be a huge accomplishment after everything I’ve been through. So, nervous but determined, I went to check my seat number and discovered I hadn’t been given the correct amount of extra time. I’m usually given an extra 45 minutes, but on this occasion, I had been short-changed. A measly 8 minutes extra time. 8?! With hindsight, this was clearly just an unfortunate error that could be (and was) easily rectified when I entered the actual exam, but in that moment a switch was flicked and my panic went into overdrive. I had a full-blown panic attack, the worst I’d had in weeks. Luckily, I had my mum there and a very lovely stranger to help calm me down – if you’re somehow reading this Welsh Owen, you’re a gem. Its testament to how far I’ve come that I entered that exam, sat down, and did the damn best I could even if I was a puffy-eyed, snotty-nosed mess.

So, there we have it. Turbulent as it may have been, I did it. I finished uni.

It was right. I didn’t hurry. It happened. And I cannot wait to graduate.


Special thanks to a few very special human beings:

– My parents, especially dear Mumma Mango who even travelled to Cardiff with me and endured long evenings quizzing me on some yawn-worthy areas of law. You are my rocks.

– My Personal Tutor, and now cherished friend, Katie. 3 years of lovely catch-ups, support through the tough times and frantic phone calls. I cannot thank you enough.

– My pals – you know who you are. Thanks for the laughs, keeping my sanity intact (what I have of it anyway!), the hugs, the VKs. Extra-special thanks to Erika, Poppy and Lee-Boo, my originals, always there to pick me up through the heartbreak, self-doubt or when I’ve had one glass too many. I love you all so much.


A Letter To My Depression

Dear Depression,   

I never thought I’d say this to you. I’ve loathed you, put up with you, been overpowered by you for so long. You’ve sapped me of self-confidence, of energy, of the enjoyment of things I love. But you’ve also taught me a lot, and for that I guess I should say thank you.   

For the more you’ve hung around, the more I’ve dug my heels in and armed myself to fight. Because of you, I am resilient. I know that even in my weakest moments, I have strength, more strength than you’ll ever have. Because I am so much more than you. However many times you knock me down, I will always get back up.   

It [depression] may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud. (Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive)

For I am the sky.   

You’ve made me have to reassess everything I know, to feel lost without hope of being found. You’ve turned daily activities I took for granted into great, huge tasks – mountains even, too daunting to try to climb.   

The more you made me feel this way, the more I’ve learnt to appreciate the little things. I’ve seen that, by living my life the best I can while having you dragging at my ankles, I am doing one the strongest and bravest things I can ever do. That getting up on those days when all I want is to hide myself under my duvet and wait for the storm to pass is one heck of a massive victory. And on those days when I can’t, knowing deep down that it’s okay, because I have the courage to try again tomorrow. Despite what you do, I’ve found and I honour the ability I have within this disability. I am proud of who I am.   

You’ve made me feel so isolated, yet still push people away. You’ve made me mask my emotions, feel unworthy of help. You’ve made me believe I am a failure.  

But not anymore.  

I do deserve help, and there’s so many people willing to give it. I’ve been open and honest with myself, and others. Surprise, it was nothing like I feared, I haven’t been rejected or thought any less of. I’ve been accepted in my entirety. Meg in all my Meg-ness. Unapologetically me.  

I’ve learnt it’s okay to do things in my own time. I’ll get to where I want to go. I’ve learnt to do what works for me. To be aware of my emotions, check in on myself, know my triggers. I put my mental health first – and I’m so thankful I finally do. 

So, yes, thank you Depression, for without you I wouldn’t have been on this journey. The journey to knowing I am completely, unequivocally enough, and I will be okay.  


Some eggxtremely valuable advice

Sometimes when we start addressing our mental health issues, we’re able to pinpoint the little things we may do ourselves that aren’t necessarily helping us to recover.

A biggy for me is that I put faaaaar too much pressure on myself. In every sense. Socially, academically, physically. So, when I don’t live up to that pressure, it’s as if I look for someone to blame. But, I wouldn’t dare blame anyone else for what I’m going through, so the only person left to blame is me.

With depression and anxiety, I experience a lot of internal noise. I think about what I have to do, worry all the time I’m not doing it, once I am doing it I don’t feel I’m doing enough, and the spiral of negative thoughts continue and continue until it feels as if my head will explode.

… and, again, that could be about anything and everything. Revision… replying to messages… work…

I feel like I should be able to just pull myself together. Like up until now I simply haven’t worked hard enough to shake off the depression, and I should just be able to fix myself. I think of it as if it’s the easiest thing to do, and that I’m the problem- that maybe I’m lazy or don’t want it enough- but the truth is (and it’s very hard for me to recognise sometimes, but The Blurt Foundation round it up pretty damn nicely):

Living with depression is hard work. Every single day we get up and do our best to live our lives alongside an illness which is determined to drag us down. 

Regardless of what our brains may tell us, we’re achieving so much simply by carrying on. We should be proud of ourselves, rather than being ashamed.

Sometimes I just need a shake, to remember that this is an illness. As with any illness, the symptoms we suffer with depression and anxiety are not our fault, and we shouldn’t self-blame or beat ourselves up. THAT lets the depression win.

Again, *disclaimer*: I’m terrible at- what the Black Eyed Peas sing in their 2003 banger-  ‘practising what I preach’.

Trying to have self-compassion is really, really bloody hard, especially when you can’t help but feel unworthy of it. The way I try to look at it now is to treat myself like I would treat my best friend. If they were in my position, I wouldn’t shame them, I definitely wouldn’t expect them to snap out of it and fix themselves in the click of a finger, nor would I get angry at them or think they’re horrible.

So, what’s the answer? The million-pound question. Well, maybe there isn’t an answer as such, but something you can- and should- do is forgive yourself. Or, at least, try to. No one is perfect, whether they suffer a mental illness or not. Give yourself a well-needed break and remember that Blurt Foundation wisdom: you should be proud, not ashamed of what you’re dealing with.  You’re doing bloomin’ marvellously.


Creme Egg Cupcakes 


  • 4 tbsp Water (boiling)
  • 40g Cocoa powder
  • 3 Eggs
  • 175g Butter (unsalted) (softened)
  • 165g Unrefined golden caster sugar
  • 115g (gluten-free) Self-raising white flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder (rounded)
  • 6 creme eggs (frozen until needed, then halved)
  1. Line a muffin tin with paper cases. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl, pour in the boiling water and mix into a thick paste. Add the remaining cake ingredients and mix with an electric hand whisk (or beat with a wooden spoon).
  2. Divide 2/3 of the mixture between the 12 paper cases. Place half a crème egg in each, then cover with the remaining mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F, Gas mark 6) for about 15 minutes until well risen and springy to the touch. Cool in the cases on a wire rack.




  • 165g Golden syrup
  • 90g Softened butter
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • 375g Icing sugar
  • Yellow food colouring


  • 100g Butter
  • 300g Icing sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • Splash of milk
  1. Mix together the butter, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together for the fondant until the mixture becomes pale(ish)
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar into the mix to create a thick fondant (you might not need all the icing sugar), then use enough yellow colouring to create a nice yolk colour, set aside
  3. Mix together your butter and icing sugar together to create your buttercream, add a splash of milk & the vanilla and beat on a high speed to get lots of air into your buttercream, giving you a light fluffy frosting.
  4. Use both the icings to decorate in the design of an egg (or however you wish!)
  5. Use extra creme eggs for decoration




Girls, dough-nut forget your worth

Today we celebrate women. On International Women’s Day it is a chance, more than ever, to champion female achievements; inspire girls to dream big; cheer on your girl gang to be confident and comfortable in their own mind and skin; and show ourselves a major dose of self-lovin’.

It turns out that our movement to gender parity and our growing awareness of mental health aren’t so very different after all . We recognise that we won’t have complete gender equality or a complete understanding of mental health overnight- in fact, we’re apparently still 200 years off gender parity (blimey). However, in the year of #MeToo and Time’s Up, Heads Together and Fearless Femme, we can definitely say that we are far from giving up on either cause.

On a day where women should feel strong, empowered and supported, it’s hard to fathom why so many can very easily feel the exact opposite. With depression, it is far too regular that one can instead feel powerless, weak and alone.

Something which I struggle with and makes me feel particularly weak is that, due to my mental health, I’m sometimes unable to do as much as I used to. Whether work, social activities or even the basic tasks of getting out of bed, bathing etc., sometimes it is just too hard. As much as I can remind myself that my depression isn’t forever and that the storm will pass, it is terrifically hard to come to terms with not being able to cope with as much responsibility or stress as I was able to when I was well. It makes me feel a failure.

During my third year at university, a culmination of things meant that I hit a very hard dip in my mental health. It felt a little like I was an old faulty car, the type that has such a place in your heart that you refuse to get rid of it. Every time I experienced another emotional knock, it was as if the engine had given out again. I’d have to collect myself, patch myself up, and keep on trucking. Another knock would come. Again, I’d put a brave face on, take some time out and try again. Soon enough, the knocks added up and the pushing on became harder to do. Finally came the fateful diagnosis: the old banger needs more than a patch up. Translation: you really need take some time out and care for yourself.

With the help of my supportive personal tutor, that’s what I did. I was able to take several leave of absences from university. I was able to delay some of my exams, and after months of support, I came to the decision to add another year to my university saga, and now study my remaining modules from home.

I can’t say that I never compare myself to my peers or that I never feel incredibly far away from where I want to be… but I will happily say that these last months have been a breakthrough in the way I think about, and tackle, my depression- and that is something I can only be grateful for.

Truth is, however much you feel the contrary, you are doing the most courageous and brave of things: you’re surviving. You are doing the best you bloody can, and there is no way that is never enough.

On a lighter note, I have not only a recipe but a book to recommend this week. ‘Everything I Know About Love’, Dolly Alderton’s debut book, is a delightfully real depiction of how, no matter what young adult life throws at you, the love of your friends will always carry you through. I mean, what better for IWD?!

Now, it’s time you dough-nut worry and be happy with this recipe from blue-eyes himself, Mr Paul Hollywood…


For the doughnuts 

  • 250g/9oz strong white flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • 20g/¾oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 75ml/2½fl oz warm milk
  • sunflower oil, for deep fat frying

For the icing 

  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest only

To serve 

  • 1 lemon, zest only


  1. For the doughnuts, place all the ingredients into a large bowl (except the sunflower oil) with three tablespoons of water.
  2. Stir with your hands to make a dough.
  3. Gradually add another another tablespoon of water and massage in the bowl for four minutes.
  4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Place into a bowl and leave to rise for 40 minutes, covered with a damp tea towel.
  6. Tip the dough out, again onto a very lightly floured surface.
  7. Divide the dough in half.
  8. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough quite thinly to about 1cm/½in thick. Cut into rounds using an 8cm/3¼in straight sided round cutter, then use a 2cm/¾in cutter to cut holes out of the middle.
  9. Spin each doughnut on your index finger to expand the hole.
  10. You should be able to cut out about eight doughnuts from this dough. Place all circles onto an oiled baking tray, loosely cover with cling film, not allowing it to touch the top of the doughnuts and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat a deep fat fryer, filled with sunflower oil to 180C/350F (Caution: hot oil can be dangerous; do not leave unattended.)
    If, like me, you don’t own a deep fat fryer, have no fear! A deep heavy-based frying pan filled to a 1/3 with the oil works just as well.
  12. Drop each doughnut in separately, cooking each side for about a minute or until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate lined with kitchen towel to soak up the excess oil.
  13. Leave to cool.
  14. For the icing, gradually add 25ml/1fl oz of cold water to the icing sugar. It will eventually turn into a thick paste. Stir in the lemon zest.
  15. When the whole doughnuts have cooled, brush the tops of the doughnuts with the icing. Sprinkle over a little more lemon zest.
  16. Leave to set on a cooling rack, to cool completely.


Follow this recipe to the letter, and (trust me) you’ll have some delightful results. Tip: throw out the diet for a day and eat these while they’re at their freshest and most divine.

Big love, and happy International Women’s Day ladies! X




Always look on the bright slice of life

Happy 2018! Or, should I say, Happy 20-GREAT-een!

Many people set themselves New Year’s resolutions, wanting to capitalise on the opportunity to try new things, improve on current things, but ultimately hoping the year starts off the best it can.

So, when we set our resolutions with our expectations too high, we can leave ourselves feeling failures. When you suffer with depression, this kind of failure can trigger a spiral of negative thoughts about ourselves, and we feel more deflated than ever.

That’s why this year my resolutions, or more ‘promises to myself for 2018’, are solely based around self-care, and include a few simple bits of guidance to myself, making sure I approach each ‘resolution’ positively and, importantly, without the pressure.


Mid-way through December 2017 I saw this:


Now, it’s said that ‘curiosity killed the cat’, and there was a thought of mine that ‘running may kill the Meg’. BUT, my overriding thought was…

‘Hey, I could promote better mental health, influence people to take better care of themselves, spread awareness and understanding of depression and anxiety- AND all the while get myself in a better physical and mental state’.

… So I signed up, and, for over 2 weeks now, I’ve plagued social media platforms with selfies (classic Meg) and videos of my running journey.

And you know what? I’ve loved every bloomin’ minute.

This hasn’t always been my mindset. Gosh, no. Having suffered with depression since age 16, I would be a millionaire- well, out of my overdraft- for all the times a doctor has told me the benefits of physical exercise on your mental health. But that wasn’t me, no. I hated exercise. I was that girl that would go to the gym regularly for a month, lose interest, and pay for 3 extra months without visiting, before finally admitting defeat and cancelling my membership. It’s because of this that I coined the label of ‘exercisephobe’, which I really think should be considered an entry into the English Dictionary at some point.

With that self-assigned title, and knowing how much of a flake I am at sticking to ANYTHING, I did worry I wouldn’t be able to complete #REDJanuary. Was I setting myself  up for a fall? As it turns out, no, I wasn’t. The beauty of #REDJanuary lies in its name: ‘Run EveryDay January‘. Running everyday, and not just 2 or 3 times a week, makes it a commitment you cannot avoid or ‘blow off’ until another day. Its also shown me how quickly your body can adapt to exercise. On Day 1, I couldn’t run 2 minutes without needing a break/walk. Maybe it was the NYE hangover or the- frankly hideous- amount of pigs and blankets I devoured over Christmas, but I felt so unfit. 2 weeks on, I can go for 15-20 minute runs. Yes, I’m knackered afterwards, but more importantly I am so, so proud of myself. That feeling is something that can really escape you when you’re going through dark times, so to feel it again genuinely means the absolute world.

So, here’s to the rest of #REDJanuary, and to the 5k I plan to take part in next week! You really, really can surprise yourself.


You can visit my JustGiving page at:




Those suffering from a mental illness can have their sleeping patterns affected in different ways. You can experience insomnia, feeling you’re unable to switch-off from your thought processes. When this happens, it is a very dark and lonely place to be. Conversely, you can find yourself more tired than usual, and therefore needing more sleep than your ‘norm’.

Either way, disturbed sleep can have a massive knock-on effect to your mood and functionality. Because of the power a good night’s sleep can have, it is really worthwhile practicing good sleep hygiene.

During my days as a student, I can admit I definitely neglected the importance of sleep. Now, however, I’ve adopted my very own toolkit:

  • Screens away an 30 mins/1 hour before bed. Exposure to light in the late evening tends to delay the phase of our internal clock and lead us to prefer later sleep times. So, pop that laptop, TV or mobile phone away for the last part of your evening- Instagram can wait until tomorrow.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening. I now swap my normal cuppa tea for a herbal one, or even a hot chocolate when it reaches 4/6 hours before my desired bedtime.
  • Keep to a general bedtime. 
  • Use sleep-inducing fragrances. I use a lavender spray over my bed linen, and ‘Sleepy’ body lotion from Lush, just for that extra bit of snooziness. Zzzzz.
  • Herbal tablets. I occasionally use Kalms Night tablets when I’m experiencing a period of sleep deprivation, just to help me get back on track and sleepy around my desired bedtime.
  • De-stressing activities. Have a bath, read a book. Chill.


As with any symptoms you might experience as a result of mental illness, keep your doctor in the loop. I’m lucky enough to have a lovely doctor, who clearly cares a lot about my wellbeing, and now also- in my eyes, at least- she’s a sleep guru.



A few months ago I wouldn’t want to admit that sometimes I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. However, I also made a pact to myself not too long ago to be open and honest about as much as I can- because it really is liberating and healing.

I have occasionally used alcohol as a way to self-sabotage. It is something I can abuse, so that I feel more relaxed, or even to ‘numb’ myself. Equally, I have sometimes found that alcohol relaxes me in social situations, and when enjoying myself I can sometimes mistake that more alcohol equates to a better time.

The difficulty is that doing so, hurting myself in this way, feeds into my depression. On nights out, detrimental thoughts I have internalised can emerge, such as feelings that I’m undeserving of friends. This obviously affects the way I’m feeling, and no doubt those whom I am with, who have no idea why all of sudden I may have changed in mood. I think we can all agree, that is no fun for anyone.

As a response to this, I have decided to treat alcohol with a great deal more care in 2018, and beyond. I have limited my drinking to weekends and social occasions, and already feel better for doing so.

It’s far from the end of addressing my drinking behaviour, but it’s most definitely a steady and positive step in the right direction!



Before experiencing depression to the severity I have, I never realised it could be such a triumph to just get up in the morning. But, it is.

The most simple of everyday tasks can, and should, be celebrated. Looking after yourself should be celebrated. Fighting for those better days in the future- that WILL come, you cannot lose sight of that- should be celebrated, especially when depression has sapped you of your self-belief.

I know all too well that saying this stuff is far, far easier than believing it, let alone practicing it. If, like me, you struggle to be kind to yourself, here’s a great place to start: An open letter to anyone currently struggling with their mental health. Equally, if you know someone suffering with depression or just simply want to understand more about it, this is a super helpful insight.

Other, frankly soul-warming, resources worth taking a peek at include:

Why we need to celebrate small act of ‘boring self-care’

Why surviving deserves more credit than we give it

How to be a friend to ourselves

Or, if you fancy self-care you can literally get your hands on, I could not praise this book enough. The Blurt Foundation has always spoken to me in the most raw, understanding way- and now they have a book! The reviews speak for themselves.


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And if, or when, you’re ready to put that self-care into motion: when you wake up tomorrow, do what I plan to do. Tell yourself just 4 words:

‘You are good enough.’

Because, you really are.


From ingredients for my happy and healthy 2018, to ingredients for this week’s bake:  Lemon & Elderflower Marble Cake 



With a showstopper of a cake comes a lot of work, so I baked over 2 days. On the first I made the lemon curd and the macaroons, and stored them until the following day, but it is completely up to you how you tackle it…

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 large egg
90g caster sugar 
55g unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
¾ tsp cornflour 

Lightly whisk the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients and place the saucepan over a medium heat.

Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens – about 7-8 minutes. Next, lower the heat to its minimum setting and let the curd gently simmer for a further minute, continuing to whisk.

After that, remove it from the heat. Now pour the lemon curd into hot, sterilised jar(s)*, and seal while it is still hot. Allow to cool and set before using it later to sandwich your cake.

Any leftover curd will keep for several weeks, but it must be stored in a cool place.

* To sterislise jars, they should be washed in mild soapy water, rinsed and dried and heated in a medium oven for 5 minutes.


Makes approx. 50

180g ground almonds 
175g icing Sugar  
4 egg whites 
½ tsp rosewater 
3 Drops pink food colouring 
50ml water 
160g caster sugar 
150g white chocolate 
75g double cream 

Mix the ground almonds in a food processor for 30 seconds and then sift to ensure they’re as fine as possible. Sift the icing sugar into the ground almonds.

Measure 60g of egg whites and stir in to the almonds and icing sugar along with the rose water extract and colouring to make a thick paste.

Place the water and the golden caster sugar into a small saucepan and heat. Bring to the boil and cook until the temperature reaches 118°C. Do not over stir or the syrup will crystallise. Remove from the heat.

Place the remaining egg whites in a bowl. Whisk into soft peaks, gradually adding the sugar syrup. Whisk on high until the mixture has thickened and stands in firm peaks. Fold the mixture into the ground almonds.

Heat oven to 170°C (fan 150°C, gas mark 3). Line three baking sheets with baking parchment and pipe your mixture in rounds roughly the size of a 10p piece (or, for a cleaner finish, I used a silicon macaroon mould). Leave for 30 minutes at room temperature before baking.


Bake for 10 minutes then cover with baking parchment and bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Place the cream and white chocolate in a small saucepan and heat until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and then use to sandwich your macaroons together.

Store in an airtight container.



250g butter
300g caster sugar
4 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons
350g (gluten-free) self raising flour
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp elderflower cordial 

juice of 3 lemons
200 g icing sugar
2 ½ tbsp elderflower cordial

100g butter
250g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp elderflower cordial 

Preheat your oven to 180C/ gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.

Cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each, and then lemon zest, beating again. Sift the flour and the salt together and then fold them into the mixture. Once combined, add the cordial and mix again.

Divide the batter between your tins as evenly as you can, and bake for around 45 minutes, or until the cakes are risen, golden, and firm.

While the cakes are baking, make the drizzle. Put the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly, and then add the cordial.

Immediately after you take the cakes out of the oven, puncture all over with a skewer or a fork, and pour the syrup over the cakes while they are still warm. It will seem like there is too much liquid, but the cakes will eventually drink it up.

Once the cakes have cooled completely, remove them from the tins. To make the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric whisk until it’s completely soft. Sift the icing sugar over the butter, then add the cordial, and beat. Add the lemon zest and blend again.

Up-end one cake on a plate and spread lemon curd over the surface. Repeat with the buttercream (be careful at this point to leave enough buttercream to cover the cake with a thin layer of icing, known as a crumb coat), then top with the remaining cake. Now the cakes are sandwiched together, cover completely with the remaining buttercream.



Assortment of coloured royal icings  


1 pack of white royal icing 

Assortment of food colourings 

If you have bought white royal icing, tear into several chunks. To dye, use a few drops of your desired food colouring and knead.

Press pieces of coloured fondant icing/roll-out icing together. Knead briefly to blur the colours.

Dust your worksurface and rolling pin with icing sugar then roll out the icing.

Carefully transfer to your cake, smooth down the surface starting at the top then trim the base with a small sharp knife.

See how it’s done right here: How to make marble fondant


A great way to further decorate your cake while attaching your macaroons is with…

100g unsalted butter
¼ tsp vanilla extract
250g/1lb 10oz icing sugar
50g/5½oz white chocolate, melted 

Cream the butter, vanilla and icing sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the melted chocolate.




Decorate as desired; I used an edible glitter spray to add that little bit of extra sparkle!


Until next time,

Meg xoxo


All you knead is love

Christmas is the perfect opportunity to let the people you love know how much you cherish them- I mean, that’s practically the whole plot of Love Actually right?! That’s why this year I decided to do just that, by sending Christmas cards to all those that have supported me this year. These are the people that listened and comforted me, stayed by my side through the tough times, and loved me unconditionally. It is never a bad thing to let people know you’re grateful for having them in your life for just being them, and them accepting you for you.

Recently I’ve felt angry at depression. I somewhat had a hold on it; I had battled with it long enough to understand it and recognise the warning signs of a dive in my mood. I had even managed to keep some things ‘mine’ in the sense that they weren’t affected too severely by my depression. But slowly and surely it managed to bully its way into those parts of my life too, resulting in breaks from studying, delaying of exams and ending of relationships. It is impossible to express how demoralising it is to feel like you have lost control over your own life in this way. Inside, I am furious. I’m furious that depression swoops in uninvited, this great big dark enigma dragging you down. That it isolates you, makes even the simplest of everyday tasks harder to do, turns you against yourself. That it makes you see yourself as a burden, that you’re not worthy of happiness, and at its worst it can even make you want to hurt yourself. It literally makes you you’re own worst enemy. And why does it think it can have that kind of control over you?

Luckily, there are ways to take back that control. The bully that is depression loses its power in a manner of ways. For instance, the fact that the stigma around mental health has been challenged- it is recognised as an illness that you can be prescribed medication for, just like anyone would for their ailments. Equally, talking to someone about how you are feeling-although initially it can be daunting- can feel like a massive weight off your shoulders, whether you talk to a counsellor, friend, family member, or a charity helpline, like the Infoline provided by Mind.

It is those charities that deserve massive appreciation. Mind dedicates it work to ensuring that everyone struggling with their mental health has the support and respect they need, and deserve. They do this by working towards improving services, raising awareness and promoting a greater understanding of mental health. Their relentless work has supported over 513,000 people across England and Wales, all the while relying on donations. So, in an effort to give back to such an incredible foundation I am doing some fundraising myself! I’m taking on Run Every Day January to start 2018 healthily and positively, and because no one should face a mental health problem alone.

How do I work to take back the control in my life? I’m on medication and meet with a counsellor each week, but most of all I’m lucky enough that I am able to surround myself with friends and family who understand without pointing it out, who treat me normally but recognise that everyday life can be a struggle sometimes. It is that kindness that deserves to be thanked.

So, all I can say is to be kind. Most of all to yourself. After all, a simple act of kindness creates an endless ripple.

Every week after counselling I choose to self-care through baking. This week I decided was bread week- so here is my particularly festive Pesto, Sundried Tomato & Feta Tear and Share Bread. Enjoy!

Pesto bread


Bread Dough

  • 300 gr strong white flour
  • 180 gr water
  • 30 ml oil – I use rapeseed oil
  • 7 gr of fresh yeast
  • 6 gr of salt
  • Feta
  • Sundried Tomatoes
  • Mixed herbs

You can either use shop-bought pesto, or make your own.


  • 50 gr of herbs chopped – I used mostly basil and some parsley
  • 50 gr of pine nuts toasted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50 gr grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 gr rapeseed or olive oil (approx)



  1. First start with the bread dough.
  2. If you have a thermometer, weigh the water. This water should be around 24C. This will feel cooler than you would imagine.
  3. Weigh the flour out into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl if you are making it by hand. Add the salt and yeast keeping them well apart from each other.
  4. Add the oil and water.
  5. If using the stand mixer, mix on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, then increase to medium speed for a further 3 minutes. The dough should detach itself from the sides of the bowl. It will be smooth and elastic.
  6. If mixing by hand, use a dough scraper to mix all the ingredients together and knead until smooth.
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic and set aside for 45 minutes to one hour away from drafts.
  8. Next make the pesto. You can use a food processor to make this or chop everything as finely as possible.
  9. Lightly toast your nuts and set aside to cool.
  10. Roughly chop the nuts, herbs and garlic, grate the parmesan and add to the processor bowl. Add approximately half of the oil and pulse until smooth. It will be very thick. Add more oil until it becomes a spreading consistency. Set aside.
  11. Set your oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  12. After 45 minutes to one hour, your dough will have risen and when prodded will be soft and any marks will disappear.
  13. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm thick into a long rectangle. You will be rolling up the long edge.
  14. Cut the edges of the dough to make the rectangle equal. Save these pieces to make the sun-dried tomato and feta ‘baubles’.
  15. Spread the pesto all over the dough.
  16. Roll the dough up tightly into a long sausage. Place in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour. This will ensure both the filling and dough are the same temperature and will be easier to cut.
  17. Roll the off cuts of dough and scatter with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta and mixed herbs. Roll into a sausage and place with the pesto dough in the fridge.
  18. With a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut slices that weigh 70 gr. You want them all to be the same weight to create an even tree. Set aside until you have cut all the pieces. Retain any underweight pieces to cut out a pot and star.
  19. Cut the tomato and feta dough into small pieces.
  20. Layout on silicon paper on a baking tin, with one in the first row, two in the second and so on. Leave space for the rolls to expand before baking as shown, then place a small ‘bauble’ between the pesto bread.
  21. Brush the dough with beaten egg and leave for 45 minutes before baking. You’ll note how they have expanded.
  22. Brush the dough a second time with the beaten egg before placing in the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden. Check after 15 minutes. Gently remove the bread from the tray and place on a serving platter. These are best served just warm.


Recipe from: Savoury Tear and Share Rolls Recipe

Fundraising page:





Hap-PIE-ness is a choice

With depression, you naturally go through ups and downs. I’d like to think that over time I’ve grasped how to cope with it, but it’s only over the last year or so that I developed anxiety too- and it’s this combination of the two that really blindsided me. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve felt I’ve struggled to function. It got to a point where I knew, and those close to me recognised, it was time to get some help again.

That first step can be really hard. It’s tough to open up and talk about such sensitive, personal issues. BUT (and it’s a big ‘but’), it can be so very liberating.

Fortunately, I’ve sought help before- from NHS and private counselling to hypnotherapy- so it was less of a hurdle for me to speak up this time. For me, I needed more than medication and self-help to get me by, I needed to talk it through and learn some coping mechanisms so I could feel I was leading a ‘normal’ life again. As I mentioned in my last post, the doctor put me in touch with Time to Talk, who in turn offered me group sessions on ‘Keeping the Balance’ while I was popped on a waiting list for independent treatment.

At first, I was apprehensive. Talking about yourself can be tricky at the best of times, but talking about your struggles with strangers? That’s a whole different board game, and not my typical cup of tea. So, despite admittedly dreading it a little (maybe a lot), I went to the sessions and learnt a lot, not only about depression and anxiety, but about myself in general- the effect my thoughts have on me, what steps I could take to get better, what support I need etc.

What I’ve realised is that the most important thing for me is feeling understood and accepted in my entirety. With mental health you can feel isolated, worthless and ashamed. It makes such a huge difference for someone to be open to your struggles, be a listening ear, talk things through but also continue to see you as YOU. Mental health isn’t a simple or straight-forward thing, but its human- surely we can all relate to that?

What I also realised was what a wonderful support I am fortunate enough to have. The day of my final group session I happened to appreciate the little things for the pretty big difference they made to my day. I woke up to a post-it note from Mum telling me to ‘go sparkle!’. I received a call from my brother during his lunch break, just wanting a catch-up. I had a message left on my phone from my Dad enthusiastically informing me that the cakes I baked him were- I quote- ‘THE BEST CAKES I’VE EVER EATEN’. High praise indeed. And if the best family in the world wasn’t enough (I’m biased, but they are great), I also have some invaluable friends who over the last few months have helped me more than they know with Facetimes, housing me for weekend visits, letters and even flowers- FLOWERS!!!- delivered to my house. I can’t thank them enough.

So, it’s a few weeks on now, and it’s still not the easiest of times, but it is far from the worst. I’ve taken some knocks, but I will work my way through them. After all, I’m not alone. I’ve got my own dream team behind me. As long as I’m looking after my health, I know I will be okay.

And it may have taken a little while but I’m ready. I’m ready to give it my all, give that anxiety the boot, send off those dreaded applications, be more productive with uni work, keep treasuring my truly wonderful friends and family- and importantly learn to treasure myself. Be the Meg I know I am and want to be.

Now, with my waffling it’s probably sur-PIES-ing this is a baking blog (you really thought I would pass up the opportunity to slip a pie pun in there?). To celebrate Pastry Week of the Great British Bake Off- whatever number week that was. Let’s face it, we’ve all forgotten- I wanted to make one of my Dad’s lunchtime favourites: pork pies. Now I’m not a pastry pro, so I went straight to the King of Baking for a recipe, Mr Paul Hollywood of course…

Pork Pies 2

Makes 12
Prep 1 hour
Bake 50 minutes


For the hot water crust pastry:

– 265g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

– 55g strong white bread flour

– 55g unsalted butter, cubed

– 65g lard

– 1 tsp salt

– 135ml boiling water

– 1 egg, lightly beaten for glazing
For the filling: 

– 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

– 380g pork loin, finely chopped

– 100g unsmoked back bacon, finely chopped

– Small bunch of parsley, leaves only, chopped

– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

– 1 large or 2 small sheets of leaf gelatine

– ½ chicken stock cube

– 300ml boiling water


  1. Heat your oven to 190°C. Have a ready a 12-hole muffin tin.
  2. First make the pork filling. Put the onion, pork, bacon and parsley into a bowl with some salt and pepper and mix well. To check the seasoning of the mix, fry a tiny nugget of the mixture in a frying pan until cooked through. Leave to cool, then taste and adjust your mixture accordingly. Cover and set aside while you make the pastry.
  3. For the hot water crust, put your flours into a bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips. Heat the lard in a pan until melted. Dissolve the salt in the boiling water, then add to the melted lard. Pour this liquid into the flour. Mix with a spoon then, as soon as it is cool enough, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work together into a ball. Be careful that the dough is not too hot when you start to work it. Once the dough ball is formed, leave it to cool slightly. If it’s still lumpy, work it a minute or two longer. Divide the dough in two, making one piece slightly bigger than the other.
  4. Working as quickly as you can, roll out the larger piece of dough to about 3mm thickness; it should be glossy and still warm enough to touch. Using an 11-12cm cutter, cut out 12 rounds to line the muffin moulds. Put them into the moulds, shaping to fit the sides. The pastry should come slightly above the rim of each mould. Roll out the other piece of dough and use a 6-7cm cutter to cut out 12 lids. Lift away the trimmings and re-roll the pastry if you need to cut more, but only once. As it cools, it stiffens and becomes more brittle.
  5. Put a heaped tablespoonful of the filling into each pastry case. Use a chopstick or something similar to make a good-sized hole, about 5mm in diameter, in the middle of each pie lid. Brush the pastry case rims with beaten egg and place the lids on top. Crimp the edges together well to seal. Brush the pastry lids with beaten eggs. Bake the pies for 50 minutes until golden brown.
  6. While the pies are in the oven, soften the gelatine in cold water to cover for 5 minutes or so. In a jug, dissolve the chicken stock cube in the boiling water. Drain the gelatine and squeeze to remove the excess liquid, then add to the stock and stir in completely dissolved.
  7. When the pies come out of the oven, enlarge the holes in the top if necessary, then carefully pour in a little of the gelatine mixture. Leave the pies to cool and settle overnight before serving. Or once cold, chill for a couple hours.


Pork Pies 3

Feast your PIES on them!


These little lovelies received a great reception not only from my *biased* taste-testers (I.e. the family), but also customers at my Mum’s Deli. The recipe was honestly a godsend to follow, and although perhaps not the prettiest or PIES-winning (sorry for that one) pork pies ever, I felt I achieved a pretty damn tricky bake! So, if you fancy a bit of a challenge, and the opportunity to make A LOT of terrible puns, this is the bake for you.


Ciao for now xoxo

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