At the beginning of grade 10, we needed to write a letter to our “future selves” – meaning that we would receive this letter by the end of grade 12. So the only memory of what I wrote, which is ingrained in my mind, is having the courage to one day start a blog or YouTube channel. But little did I know, about 2 months after this, that Beyond Our Sky was going to be born. So here is a collection of photographs from over past year that have become some of my very favourites, as well as a Victoria sponge cake to celebrate! March 24th 2016 seemed like just a normal day. I was 15 years old, the school term was almost finished, the holidays were about to begin, and I made the decision to just do it. The process seemed a lot more daunting in my mind, but I simply needed to create a WordPress account, choose a domain and theme, then after I got that part set up – I basically started cooking, photographing writing and posting. Most of the time people ask me why I started a blog since I’m only 16 years old, and it’s always so hard to explain because, quite truthfully, it was like the dream found me. So the best way I can describe this feeling is like fishing (not that I know much about fishing!). You’re standing out there on a jetty, waiting for a fish but not really expecting anything, then suddenly there’s something pulling on your line. Boom. You just caught a fish. But out there, in the vastness of the sea, this fish managed to find your line similar to how the opportunity/dream finds you. So what were you doing to attract this fish? 1) You were being patient and 2) there was bait on your fishing line. And this basically explains the law of attraction – where we are able to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. So you were focusing on catching a fish and you caught a fish. Simple. But the crazy thing about opportunity is that it is often unclear; like when you are fishing, you can hardly see the fish swimming in the water. To me, the opportunity to start a blog was clearly present at the time but in my head and through me eyes, I just couldn’t see it. The law of attraction, in my case, works because I’ve been cooking for a long time now. I used to be obsessed with making cupcakes and I took photos of them on my iPhone 4. At the time, it seemed like something fun to do and was a hobby during the holidays, but I was unconscious and unaware to the fact that I was attracting this dream. I was focusing on cooking, learning everyday through YouTube videos and other blogs until one day, unexpectedly, the fish managed to find my line. The opportunity was always present, like the fish are always swimming in the ocean, and I could have started a blog when I was 12 or 14 (it wouldn’t be very good though!) but it was only until 1 year ago that I realised it. The whole essence and purpose of Beyond Our Sky is to make you realise your full potential. To open your eyes to world before you, to see the beauty in your life and to live everyday as best you can. Make the most of what you have. Don’t be afraid. The sky is truly the limit. So why Michelle, why did you start a blog? …. because, why not?
Thank you everyone, in all sincerity, who has been there from the very beginning. It truly means the world to me and I never imagined Beyond Our Sky coming this far. Thank you for all the wonderfully kind comments, likes, follows, and compliments – I wouldn’t be here without every single one of you!
Victoria Sponge Cake
- 250g softened butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 250g self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 500mL cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- Strawberry filling (recipe below)
- 350g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- Icing sugar, to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line 4 x 15cm (or 2 x 20cm) circular cake tins.
- In an electric mixer on high speed, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in colour. About 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each addition. Then add the vanilla extract. On the lowest speed, fold in the flour and add the milk. Beat until just combined and do not over mix.
- Divide the mixture evenly between tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Then allow to cool completely and transfer to wire rack.
- Assembly: Whip the cream and vanilla bean seeds to medium-stiff peaks. Place the first layer of cake onto platter/stand. Spread with cream and strawberry filling, and add a generous amount of chopped strawberries. Repeat with remaining layers and decorate with more cream, strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar.
- 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 4 tablespoons of water
- 35g sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 3 tablespoons of water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally and crushing the berries with the back of a spoon.
- Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the berries have broken down. Dissolve the cornflour in the remaining 1 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the strawberry mixture.
- Bring the mixture back to a boil and whisk continuously for 1-2 more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl. Then refrigerate to cool completely until ready to assemble.