Mini Adventure: Pie-Baking Day


Baking tends to be a rushed activity for me: I’m usually working up to an event or just craving cookies as soon as bake-able. See, I even called it “work” even though it is for pleasure. So when I saw Minimalist Baker’s Pumpkin Spiced Apple Pie recipe, I decided to take my time and devote all of Saturday to the baking of it. 

I read over the recipe carefully, because often I overlook equipment I might need or extra steps I need to take. Our kitchen came furnished, but we’re still tailoring it to our needs, so the pie was a good excuse to get a pie pan, a pair of [bright blue] tongs, a whisk, and some mixing bowls that double as fruit bowls. 

That morning I had selected a range of sweet and tart apples from our weekly market shop. Yum yum yum. Then I picked up some pumpkin puree from Real Foods – I was so surprised to find it in this country! In the days to follow I attempted my own pumpkin butter from scratch, but was grateful for this shortcut in my first attempt.

Overall, I didn’t mess up the pie too much, but trying a lattice top was not an option, as the crust was simply too crumbly. I think next time I need to use colder, harder butter. Nevertheless, it was delish, especially with some Swedish glace, one of my favourite non-dairy ice cream options. It’s officially autumn, people!
What autumnal goodies have you been enjoying?

miss xandra bee

P.S. Halloween is just around the corner! Here are some last-minute ways to celebrate.

Sunday Sampling: Date Like Jane Austen


♡ Add this DIY knitted wall piece to my to craft list please.

Jane Austen Rules for Dating – just as relevant as ever.

42 Ways to Make Sure People Like and Respect You: another gem found via Smart, Pretty, and Awkward!

♡ Balancing gratitude with frustration: Make two lists.

♡ With a minimalist edge: Make Home Life a Priority.

Literary Cures for Emotional Crises: so necessary!

♡ The Ultimate Guide to Binge-Watching Gilmore Girls. Just yes.

miss xandra bee

Happy #Lovetober!

Perhaps you’ve heard me say it before: Limitation fosters creativity. An example? Gala‘s #Lovetober Instagram challenge! This time around I’ve been sure to post every day, on time, and each prompt challenges me to get colourful and creative. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far!

Happy Lovetober!Happy Lovetober!Happy Lovetober!Happy Lovetober!Happy Lovetober!Happy Lovetober!

Are you playing along? Let me know so I can follow you!

miss xandra bee

P.S. Speaking of October…tis the Halloween season! My guide on How to Choose a Halloween Costume.  

Why I don’t Set Climbing Goals

Why I don't Set Climbing Goals

When I heard that the Women’s Climbing Symposium was only a Glasgow away, I signed up without hesitation. Then I wondered…why am I going to this? I’m not trying to be a professional or even competitive climber.

As I discuss in my book, my relationship with climbing has been a complicated one, because it appears to be irrelevant to my main “jobs” [my degree and building my business]. And yet, I need to be reminded of my own words, which make up a whole chapter called “Our heroine learns life lessons whilst learning to climb“. 

My competitive and perfectionist tendencies make me want to do everything to my upmost capability, so it’s weird to come to terms with the fact that I don’t climb to “get better”. 

I enjoyed the training sessions and talks at WCS because, well, I like learning things, especially from super passionate people. One idea challenge me, though: “if you don’t have climbing goals you won’t reach them”. What are my goals? I could say that I want to improve my grade, or place in a bouldering competition, or lead climb a certain route at a certain crag. But my satisfaction with climbing is not dependent on those things – sure, I feel confident and accomplished by overcoming certain obstacles, mastering certain routes, and just, in general, getting better, but that’s not why I climb.

Not getting better as a climber, anyway. But it does make me a better person, as a bonus.

Why I don't Set Climbing Goals

The lessons I learn from climbing are metaphors: like being brave and bold enough to reach the top, like the importance of both exercising and resting my muscles to let them grow. It’s important to have this thing that I just do for fun: it is my release from the other more structured, ambitiously charged things. It reminds me to breathe, and keep my head clear, because without those things, it is impossible to finish the route.

Why I don't Set Climbing Goals

Do you ever find it challenging to do things just for fun? [Or is it just me?]

miss xandra bee

P.S. Writing this made me feel very Ravenclaw. So here’s How to be Hogwarts.

Mini Adventure: Café Crawling in Edinburgh

Mini Adventure: Café Crawling

Whether reading Brecht and Ionesco for my masters degree or typing this very blog post, in fact, a lovely café is my workspace of choice. I know from past visits to Edinburgh, and from Lindsay’s round up of favourite coffee places here during her year abroad that I am spoiled with options in this city. 

To avoid simply parking at my local Lovecrumbs ^ every day, I’ve vowed to go on a year-long café crawl, sampling various teas, cakes, and atmospheres to make my work a shade brighter.

Mini Adventure: Café Crawling

The crawl started at Brew Lab, a truly artisan coffee bar – you know, the kind that, when they say coffee, they mean coffee. I love my affogatos and PSLs as much as the next girl [uh, probably a bit more to be honest], but this is classic joint is all about quality and finesse. I mean, my coffee arrived on a platter. The pulsing beat and rumble of chatter made this the perfect place for me to mutter Oedipus Rex aloud without bothering anyone.

Mini Adventure: Café Crawling

For a colorful, sophisticated yet girlish style, pull up a chair at Eteaket before the afternoon tea crowd hits. Brew Lab is to coffee as Eteaket is to teas: They have a full, massive page of offerings, and I’ve seen their loose leaf selections in other cafés and shops across town. Perfect for morning journalling and Heroine Training lesson planning.

Mini Adventure: Café Crawling

“None of the cutlery matches” was all I needed to hear to be persuaded to meet at Spoon for a pre-class theatre chat. This utterly shabby chic space is hidden away on a first floor landing on Nicholson Street. To those familiar with Oxford’s haunts, this may just be my new TSK. I hear they have the best soup in town, but so far I can only speak for their cake, which is exquisitely flavourful and not too sweet, just the way I like it. This cheery, rustic space makes the most tedious of assignments tolerable.

You can follow my #cafecrawl on Instagram [And join in, if you'd like!] :)

monday mini adventuresmaking the most of one’s surroundings through conscious exploration and appreciation 

miss xandra bee

P.S. Why I write in coffeeshops

Being a Heroine

Mini Adventures


Simple Fix