Cassini's final mission

Astronomy Bonus Post: Cassini’s Final Mission

Cassini’s final mission will end today (15th September 2017) after being in service for almost 20 years. Cassini and its team have given us some of the most in depth and interesting photographs of Saturn that have ever been achieved. This amazing piece of technology will end its journey in a spectacular fashion by burning up in Saturn’s atmosphere, in an attempt to stop her from contaminating potentially life-sustaining environments that have been found on one of Saturn’s moons.

A Geek’s Guide: 7 Ultimate Science Gifts for the Nerdy Lady in your Life

This is a shout out to those who dare to be smart. For those who are intrigued by the world around them. For those who want to learn, explore, and constantly push boundaries. What Science gifts to do you get a nerdy girl?

If you’re lucky enough to know one of these people and have the HONOUR of presenting said person with a gift, then I hope you’ll consider these recommendations… and if you are the Science lover then… Treat yo’self!

So here are some of the best Science gifts, hand-picked by me!

National Space Centre Review

Intergalactic Exploration: A trip to the National Space Centre

Last weekend, my other half and I went to the National Space Centre! It was super fun and informative – definitely worth at least one trip if you want to broaden your mind and get some new information about our universe! I thought I’d write a National Space Centre Review as it was amazing and I would go again for sure. We got an annual pass for the price of one ticket (!) so we plan to go again with friends.

 National Space Centre Review Astronaut
 Welcome Sign National Space Centre Review

Intergalactic

We had a ticket to see a planetarium show which was held in the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium. You can choose from a look at the universe as a whole or stories behind some of our constellations. The lady who presented the show was very enthusiastic and I loved hearing more about the Greek mythology related to the constellations.

Some things I learned from the planetarium exhibit:

  • Some space objects are named M followed by a number because Charles Messier just labelled things he found with his initial and a number in the order he found them – how very imaginative!
  • We can’t map all the galaxies because our own galaxy blocks the half of our view.
  • The big and little dipper constellations are named for a Greek legend of a mother and son who were turned into bears and thrown into space!
National Space Centre Review Bioshock

Would you kindly increase the magnification?

 National Space Centre Review Rockets

Interactive

I really liked how they relayed the information in the centre to you. It wasn’t centred around children only which it can often be at science museums, it was perfect for us too. The level of interactivity was so high! There were whole areas where you could test your skills as an astronaut, a simulation of a moon landing and you could lose hours watching all the videos and playing the mini-games.

They had some real rockets in the eating area with a multi-layer mezzanine so you could see them from top to bottom. That was certainly a highlight of the day!

 Orrery Ceiling Light National Space Centre Review
 National Space Centre Review Would you kindly
 National Space Centre Review Jupiter Fact File

Information

There were SO many facts in there that you’d have to visit a few times to really take it all in! There were whole areas dedicated to rockets, sci-fi, the life of astronauts. So many planetary facts and the entire history of space exploration across the world. Here are just a few things I learned along the way:Le Voyage dans la lune National space centre review

  • The first ever Sci-Fi movie was French and called “La Voyage Dans le Lune”. It involved scientists that looked more like wizards.
  • What it’s like to wash your hair in space. (You gather a very small amount of water droplets as best you can and pull them through your hair.)
  • Saturn if very small (or we had a huge bath) would float in water

Inspiration

I wanted to buy EVERYTHING in the onsite shop but as it’s my birthday coming up I wasn’t allowed! In the end, I bought some “astronaut” food which I will try out soon. Once my birthday is over I am definitely going to go back for more!Astronaut IceCream Astronaut Food National Space Centre Review

I am constantly searching for inspiration for my space themed stuff. The National Space Centre was definitely full of that- for both my blog and artwork. I discovered that I really love how space exploration changed throughout history and the links between the old and new methods. The history of the constellations was definitely a highlight for me!

Anytime I feel spaced out (pun intended), I am going to revisit and fuel my thoughts!

 

Space themed Party Shortbread

A Geek’s Guide: Super Space Themed Party Shortbread

After finding a few Millionaire’s Shortbread recipes online and in magazines, I thought… It could be SUPER easy to adapt these traditional recipes to make them perfect for a space themed party!

I based the quantities for this no-bake recipe on how much of the ingredients I had in my house, but you can change these up depending on how many pieces you want to make! Also, a lot of people make their own shortbread base but I have NO time for that so… I used shortbread biscuits!

Space Themed Party cake Ingredients

Ignition sequence start…

200g Shortbread biscuits

50g butter (for base)

100g butter (for caramel)

150g demerara sugar

1 can of condensed milk

150g dark chocolate

150g white chocolate

Star decorations

Purple and blue gel food colourings

Shortbread base space themed party cake

 

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before!

Firstly crush the shortbread up with the end of a rolling pin with cling film over the top. You could get a little bit obsessive about this like me and make sure that the grains are even with no lumps and bumps, after all, the smaller the pieces the better it will stick together.

Add the 50g butter and mix it through, then press the biscuits hard to form an even base. I’ve learned from my previous cheesecake recipe, that it’s a good idea to use baking paper underneath! Pop in the fridge to chill while you make the caramel. (about 15 mins)

Caramel Shortbread Space Themed Party

Commencing countdown, engines on…

To make the caramel centre layer, heat up the 100g butter and the sugar on a low heat until all the sugar has melted and it’s not grainy. Then add the condensed milk and bring up to a rapid bubble (you may need to increase the heat a little).

You will find that the mixture starts to get a little tougher to stir as it thickens – this means it’s done! Tip it onto your newly chilled base and pop it back in the fridge.

Melted Chocolate for Space Themed Shortbread

Next, melt the chocolate into three bowls (all the dark, and split the white into 2). I did this by popping a bowl over boiling water, but you could do it in a pan on low heat or in the microwave. Add a few drops of the gel colouring into the separated white chocolate – I opted for blue and purple for a galactic theme!

Failure is not an option…

Next, making sure that the caramel has set, smooth out all the dark chocolate on the top and then dollop the mixture on top at random. Swirl and create a marbled nebula effect with a chopstick then scatter on your stars – there is no right way to do this, just throw them everywhere!

Marbled effect space themed shortbread

Ready for a Space themed Party!

Pop it back in the fridge for a few hours (I went to see Guardian’s of the Galaxy 2 at the cinema when I’d finished and it was done when I got back!), then this is the bit where I internally scream every time. Pull the shortbread from the tin and peel away the baking paper from underneath as neatly as you can. Did anything fall off? No? Awesome!
Space themed Shortbread Space themed party Lego Astronaut

I learned from this recipe to cut the shortbread into pieces using a hot knife as it’s the best way to cut through the top layer of chocolate. This made around 30 pieces give or take.

And there you have it! What do you think?Space Themed Party Galaxy Shortbread

SpaceShip Skinny Dip London Bag

13 Out-of-this-World Space themed gifts on my Birthday wish list!

As it’s my birthday soon I thought I’d post a Space themed gifts wish-list of mine… Just some tiny hints in case anyone (or a certain someone) need some ideas! I hope it also inspires you and gives you an insight into the kind of things you can find if you’re looking for space themed stuff!

Space Themed Gift Guide MoodBoard Galaxy Constellations Astronomy

1. Starry Night Dress by Cakes with Faces

This is such a cute little dress! I am not into astrology but the science of stars, and constellation themed items I adore! It’s amazing just how much stuff is out there (in the material and the metaphysical sense).

2. Glitter Star Hair Clips  by Crown and Glory

I feel like these in gunmetal or silver would look great now my hair’s gone purple. I just want to adorn it with sparkle! Short of covering myself in glitter, Crown and Glory have some amazing starry accessories… including a STUNNING dip-dyed veil that I MUST have for when I get married. Not that I’m even engaged yet…

3. Women In Science by Rachel Ignotofsky

Full title, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, looks absolutely stunning and really interesting! I went ahead and bought this one (this is the problem with making wishlists of affordable, beautiful items!) It is incredibly illustrated and I love the writing style.

4. Atom & Planet Necklace by Eclectic Eccentricity

As some may know, I wear the hell out of the necklace from my previous Space Princess gift guide. EE’s whole range is stunning and space-based and I look at them longingly every lunch break in the office! These colours are just perfect.
Space Themed Bag Constellation Earrings Fun Science

5. SpaceShip Bag by SkinnyDip

I added this bag to my wishlist after seeing it in Brighton… until I realised it was from LAST SEASON! *shock horror* Rather than miss out my friend got it for me and sent it in the post. (PaperBag Blog- thank you!) It helps to know lovely people! So… this is on here to show it off really (Sorry, not sorry) and give a shout-out to SkinnyDip for designing something so cool.

6. Fun Science by Charlie McDonnell

Full title “Fun Science: A Guide to Life, the Universe and why Science is so Awesome” by Charlie McDonnell has sparked my interest as it discusses everything from the largest things comprehensible to humans right down to the smallest atoms. Charlie (Charlieissocoollike) began producing science related videos on YouTube and I followed him for many years – I really want to support his venture as an author!

7. 3D Star Globe by Luckies

A 3D map of the night sky would both informative and beautiful hanging from my ceiling. Alternatively, an actual constellation globe with a transparent base would also be awesome on my office desk… but a little out of my budget!

8. Star Stud Earrings by Stray Jewellery

I am always on the outlook for earrings that can tie in with my outfits. I’ve been going for a lot of galaxy-inspired and space themed stuff recently. Even if I have to dress like your average person (boo) for work or an event, I still like to set it off with something astronomical!

Space Themed Dress Planetarium Space Pencils NASA Space Cat Mug CyberDog

9. Planetarium Paperweight by Present Indicative

I know what you’re probably thinking, it’s a bit odd… But it’s REALLY cool and I feel like I could look at it for ages. I first saw it in the Stedelijk Museum Shop in Amsterdam but it was closing and they rushed me out of the shop. I am kinda glad I did though because it’s now introduced me to a whole new website that has cool nerdy gifts! Their whole astronomy section is AWESOME.

10. Cat in Space Mug by CyberDog

I thought to myself that if I never saw another “themed” mug ever again, it would be too soon! But then, I saw this one. Space AND cats? Yeah, go on then.

11. Galaxy Skater Dress by Glitterbomb

This has been on my wish list for aaaages. I’m absolutely in love with it – the colours are amazing (and I already have the necklace!)

12. Space themed Swirl Coloured Pencils

I added these in even though I bought them for myself. I’ve been told I don’t need any more stationery items BUT the leads are coloured to match the nebulas primary colours SO… had to be done. The pencils came from a little boutique in Amsterdam but you could get them here.

And to round it all off, what would an astronomy lover be without an awesome telescope?

Sky-Watcher Explorer-130P 130mm Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope

Until Next Time,

Amy

 

International Astronomy Day: Why I love Space, the Universe and Everything

As it’s International Astronomy Day today (29th April), I decided to get myself back on track with a post about why I chose this subject in the first place. I realise I haven’t really done any astronomy related posts but it’s because I felt I didn’t know enough / it would be a lot of tertiary research. Then I realised why my real passion for the subject and the theme really shines through!

So here is a little insight into the why I love Space, the Universe and everything space themed.

It reminds us how small we are but also how awesome we are

If you go to any planetarium you will often get an introduction showing just how vast we have discovered our universe to be.  As humans, we need everything to be a scale/comparison to fathom the size of an object and even when it’s spoon fed to us sometimes it’s just incomprehensible. That can be pretty daunting, but I take comfort in it sometimes.

Nebula SH2-115 ExoGalaxies Astronomy Day

Picture by ExoGalaxies

It makes for some of the best photographs

It’d be great to get out into the middle of nowhere and take some long exposures to see what hidden gems we can pick up! I absolutely love some of the photographs. Good people to follow for this sort of stuff are The Hubble Scope,, Exogalaxies and JoshKirkley to name but a few!

My good friend Geoffrey, who takes a lot of my featured astrophotography, has some perfect pictures in his portfolio! Mostly he focuses on things a little closer to home, but they’re all amazing!Gantrisch Astrophotography Geoffrey Schild Photography Space Themed Blog

It’s one of the most interesting science subjects

One of the best things about astronomy is that there is always new information to explore, something disproving our original theories and the whole time we are finding out more about our universe. Some of my favourite places to visit are Science Museums. They’re often aimed at kids but they also hold a wealth of information for adults too. One of my dreams is to visit the Kennedy Space Centre!

Astronomy Day Searching for life

Photo by Fussy Lemon

Everything Galaxy Patterned is absolutely perfect

I absolutely adore galaxy patterned fashion and accessories. I’ve loved it for a long time but now I’m always on the look-out. I previously published my Space Princess Gift Guide and nearer to my birthday I will post my space themed gift wishlist.

Galaxy themed hoody astronomy day

My Latest Purchase ^_^

I need some space tshirt boohoo astronomy day

One of my favourite new t-shirts!

It helps with Escapism

There’s so much going on in the world: with the doomsday clock reaching the closest to midnight it’s been since 1960, scientific research being put on the back-burner and other baffling political decisions being made everywhere it’s good to just escape once in a while. Looking out into the void and remembering what could be out there makes all of the small issues seem even smaller. It definitely helps you to clear your mind!

Disney Wall-E Astronomy Day

Some of the best stories and franchises are based on it

A scientist summoned to speak to aliens. A galactic empire at war with itself. A dystopian future with an astral escape route. Space offers us so many directions a writer/director/producer can go with their science fiction. It’s my favourite genre.

I could go on forever about all the games, books, franchises, films, toys and TV programs that are inspired by the great unknown! But there are way too many to mention. In the future, I aim to do a few posts introducing some of my favourites!

Space themed food is the tastiest (and definitely the most colourful!)

I am always on the look-out for new recipes that I can adapt into a spacey theme. My galaxy cheesecake was a super success and soon I plan to make another space recipe! I am always finding inspiration for this increasingly popular theme for baking!

National Astronomy Day Space Cake Goals

By Cloud 9 – Brighton

 Galaxy Themed Donut Galaxy Cakes
 Space Themed Cake

It inspires beautiful Designs

Satin and Tat (who I write blog posts for) have produced 2 invite designs that are perfect for space themed weddings. This is the kind of thing that is exactly up my street design wise; I mean come on, I designed my entire blog around it!

It’s beautiful, awe-inspiring and my favourite place to get inspiration. I am looking forward to the day that I can produce some artwork good enough to show off, but I am working on some galaxy ink-works (watch this space!)

Astronomy Day Mood Board

The space moodboard I did for Satin and Tats new releases!

There could be others like us out there

New Scientist Magazine confirms that there is huge potential for life on one of Saturn’s moons, after finding the perfect balance of gases and needed for a specific microorganism to thrive! That’s super exciting! There’s potential for life that could outlive us by hundreds of thousands of years!

In a little older news, the awesome guys and gals at NASA found a whole new solar system with 7 earth-size planets. We have literally no idea how much potential there is for not only life but sentient beings like us living 40 light years away.

I can’t wait to see what else they can uncover about these mysterious planets! Let’s hope whatever they find there is better at looking after their own planets than we are of ours…

Google Doodle Celebrated this in such a cute way!

Happy International Astronomy Day!

Hope you all have an awesome day, wherever you are in the ether! I might have to celebrate with cake…

Amy

Space Cheesecake

A Geek’s Guide: Space Cheesecake

So I’m not exactly a culinary legend…

…but I’m not scared to give anything a go! So when I saw there was a trend online for making unicorn related cakes, I thought… why not adapt it and make a Space Cheesecake? The recipe I mostly adapted from used American pre-made bases, so I thought I’d go British and go for a traditional buttery biscuit base! I got some advice from my older and wiser colleagues who know about these kinds of things, and got to work!

Disclaimer: I cannot (!) make anything without trashing the kitchen… But I just like to think the mess is a reflection of how much fun I had making the thing!

Ignition sequence start…

So first of all, the ingredients. As you can see all of my core ingredients are from Tesco but there are other places to get these things!

 

100g butter
200g digestive biscuits
500g (or about 2 tubs of soft cheese)
200g sugar
250ml heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla essence
White or silver sprinkles
Food Colourings 

Just a note: it’s best to use gel colours as they’re much better than your normal runny ones. I bought mine here.
You’ll also need an electric whisk!

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before…

The original recipe used a pre-bought Graham-cracker base but I am not American (nor lazy!) so for mine, I ended up crushing up 2 parts digestive biscuits to 1 part melted butter.

I crushed the biscuits by using the end of a rolling pin in a bowl (they break up super easily). I then melted the butter in a pan and combined them.

Then I laid the biscuit crumbs into a well-buttered tin (mine was a cake tin with a removable base) and pushed down with the flat of a spoon to make sure the base was nice and firm.

Space Cheesecake Buttery Biscuit Base

Commencing countdown, engines on…

Next, I used an electric whisk to blitz together the soft cheese and sugar, and then once it was combined, chucked in the cream and then continued to whisk until there were “Stiff peaks“. Now, I hadn’t done this before and thought… how will I know when it’s done that? But trust me – you’ll know! At this point, add the vanilla extract and mix in.

 Vanilla Essence Space Cheesecake
 Space Cheesecake Whipping Cream Stiff Peaks

Failure is not an option…

Next, I separated this mix into 3 bowls so I could add the gel colours. I opted for blue, purple and pink (something wasn’t quite right about a black cheesecake…)

I didn’t want to compromise the flavour of the space cheesecake by adding too much colouring, so I didn’t go too brave and make it really dark… but the colours still worked really well!

Splodge all the mixture into small alternating dollops (technical terms…) onto the top of the base at random, and then marble them by swirling around with a chopstick.

Space Cheesecake Cream cheese colours

Space Cheesecake Dollops

Space Cheesecake Chopstick

Cake (and grief counselling) will be available at the conclusion of the test…

To finish, I smoothed off the top with a spatula and then scattered my white decorations at random. It needed to then be chilled for 6 hours in the fridge before removing from the tin and Voilà! The space cheesecake was ready to eat, and oh my gosh was it good!

Space Cheesecake Complete

Space Cheesecake Piece

Space Cheesecake Final

So what do you think?!

Until Next Time

Amy

Intergalactic, shoot for the stars and Northern Lights bathbomb

A Geek’s Guide: 7 Gifts for a Space Princess

As a lover of all things space related I’ve decided to compile a little gift guide; for the Space Princess in your life! It was so difficult not to post literally everything I have that’s space related, but I’ve whittled it down to just 7 (affordable) items.

As you can probably tell this is not a sponsored post since I am completely new to this, so all these opinions are 100% my own! Also, I hopefully won’t post too many materialistic posts but I love space themed stuff so much that I just really wanted to share the gifts I received with you!

1. Intergalactic Star Crown by Crown and Glory

I’m modelling this particular item (in colour-way Black Hole) below. I wore it to my Christmas party and it just felt like a true reflection of myself! Most of their range is handmade and so took 8-10 days to get shipped out. I would really recommend this for parties as, unlike most glitter coated items, the glitter didn’t come off and get everywhere! Top marks for that alone, as well as it being super cute.

Space Princess Game is Strong

Space Princess

It came with star sequins inside too!

 2. It’s about Space-Time Necklace by Eclectic Eccentricity

This necklace is AMAZING. I saw it and instantly fell in love with it. It went straight on my Amazon wishlist and I got it as a Christmas present. Eclectic Eccentricity currently do a whole selection of space related jewellery which is just stunning! (and on SALE).

Space Princess

3. Solar system in a Bottle by Little Planet Factory

My boyfriend got major brownie points for this one! This little bottle contains 3D prints of all the planets in our solar system AND a rogue Pluto. It’s just a really pretty and interesting little nonsense trinket – the one I have is not to scale as Jupiter would have been the size of a watermelon and the to-scale version is crazy small!

Space Princess

I see you, Pluto.

4. Space Dog Print Skirt by Lindy Bop

This was a super cute purchase.  It reminds me of concept art for The Jetsons. For those not familiar with 80’s cartoons it was a space-age themed show which wasn’t quite popular enough to make a 00’s comeback. I really rate Lindy Bop for their quality and it’s really nice to see they are branching out from vintage floral prints into more alternative prints!

 

Images from the Lindy Bop website

 5. Intergalactic Bath Bomb by Lush

This has to be my favourite bath bomb of all time. Lush brought out SO much space-themed stuff for Christmas but Intergalactic came out on top. Of the 3 below, Intergalactic was the only one that wasn’t an exclusive for Christmas. The colours were just astounding as it fizzed away as you’d expect with a Lush item. However, it also left the bathwater looking like the night sky. I’ll be very sad if they ever discontinue this one. From left to right, Shoot for the Stars, Intergalactic and Northern Lights.

Space Princess

6. Lumpy Space Princess Brooch by DaisyBell Emporium

So I am a little biased on this one as it’s from a local handmade store in my hometown and I got featured on their Etsy after posting a picture on my Instagram. Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time is my spirit animal so I bought this brooch and you can just tell that it’s been made with love. It’s so lumping good!

So cute, Oh my Glob!

Lumpy Space Princess is my spirit animal

7. Moon Lamp by Fizz Creations

This is SO adorable and really affordable. It’s a full colour changing little lamp (about the size of a mango?) which is textured on the outside. The nicest touch was the footprint on the top, reminiscent of when we visited the moon’s surface. If I had to pick one flaw with this it’s that it takes 3 AA batteries and comes with none, but that’s just standard sometimes!

 
 

Hope this gave you some ideas for gifts (for yourself or for other people!)
What kind of space-related stuff do you love?

Until next time,

Amy