31 December 2014

New Year's Eve Nails

 I decided to paint my nails before the weekend as we went to visit Michael's family, and soon as though it has lasted 5 days with no chipping so far it is going to be on my nails for New Year's Eve. I used one of the new nail polishes I received for Christmas, Essie's Chinchilly, as the base. On top I put Essie's Summit of Style, a recent purchase and the star of the show. It is beautiful top coat containing different sized bronze glitter. I am not a fan of yellow gold, so the bronze tone of this glitter polish is what I was drawn to and is what makes it quite unusual. 

What are you favourite glitter nail polishes?

30 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas 2014

As usual, I was spoilt by all my family and my boyfriend this Christmas. I recieved more than I could have wished for and am very grateful. As a disclaimer, this post is not intended to show off what I got but simply because I enjoy seeing other people's posts like this. Also, I thought it would be something nice to look back on in the future.

Starting with the photo above, I was very happy when I unwrapped the Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Body & Hand Wash from my boyfriend's Mum. It was a very thoughtful gift as she had remembered when I went into a Jo Malone store with her a couple of months ago and was longing to try some of their products. She also gave me the Cedar & Lemon Bath Fizzer from a local shop in Norfolk, The Natural Soap Company
From my Dad and his partner we received a huge box filled with food, about half of which was homemade (not pictured). The box included a cake, some truffles, bicsotti, crackers and some nuts. This was great as with myself and Michael working over Christmas we hadn't bothered to buy much food in! Tucked away inside the box was the La Maison de Senteurs Hand Care Purse containing a mini Hand Wash and Hand Cream in the Fleur d'Orangier scent.
My boyfriend, Michael, gave me many things that I had on my wishlist and he knew I wanted. Possibly my favourite was the Urban Decay Naked Basics palette which has been on my wishlist since it was released more than a year ago. The LUSH Mrs Frosty gift set, which was limited edition for Christmas but contains 3 products, 2 of which are from their permanent line: the Butterball, So White and The Comforter.

Michael also gave me the Tweezerman for Benefit Eyelash ProCurl Curler, the Essie Favourites to Fall For Duo containing Bahama Mama and Chinchilly, the scent and the large mug in the Cosmic print from the Monsoon Home range at Denby. The blu-ray boxset I received from my brother, as well as a box of Lindt Chocolates (not pictured).
From my Mum I received  the Stuffed Burger Press from Lakeland. Also, following on the tradition of getting a new Christmas tree ornament every year we received not one but 4 new decorations. The Ceramic Starbucks Red Cup Ornament and knitted bear were from my Mum, the bird was from Michal's Mum and the silver glass bauble was from Michael.

I am very thankful for all the presents I received. I hope you all got everything you wished for.

26 November 2014

Pecan Blondies

I have a bit of an obsession with white chocolate. These have the flavour of white chocolate melted into a cake giving them a buttery, smooth taste. Nuts and white chocolate is a well known food combination, and rightly so. These are simply delicious. They may even be better than brownies!

Makes 16 squares

You will need:

175g White Chocolate
115g Unsalted Butter
100g Caster Sugar
2 Medium Eggs
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
125g Plain Flour
½ tsp Baking Powder
150g Pecan Halves


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and prepare a 20cm square non-stick cake tin, greased and base-lined with greaseproof paper. Break up the chocolate and put it into a heatproof bowl with the butter. Put the bowl over a pan of of hot water and melt gently while stirring frequently.When the chocolate is nearly all melted, remove the from the pan and stir until smooth.
2. Stir in the sugar, and leave to cool for 2 minutes. (Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled at this stage.)
3. Put the eggs and vanilla into a separate bowl and whisk until frothy. Add to the chocolate mixture and stir well.
4. Sift in the flour with the baking powder and stir. Add 100g of the pecan halves and mix in.
5. Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Scatter the remaining pecan halves over the top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway between the centre and the side of the cake comes out clean.
6. Leave to cool (if you can resist!), before removing the cake from the tin and cutting into squares.

14 October 2014

Butternut Squash and Pancetta Pasta

This has become another one of my favourite past dishes. It is so simple to make, yet so flavourful. I love the slightly sweet flavour of the butternut squash along with the salty flavour of the pancetta.

Serves 3

You will need:

225g Penne Pasta ½ Butternut Squash (Peeled and diced)
1 Small Onion (Diced)
155g Pancetta (or diced bacon)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed)
½ tsp Dried Mixed Herbs
⅔ Cup of Chicken Stock
¼ Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. In a medium sized saucepan, add the olive oil and pre-heat over a medium. Add the pancetta and cook until it just starts to become crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan, add the onion and butternut squash. Season lightly and cook for 12-15 minutes or until they start to develop some colour. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Add the herbs and the chicken stock. Cook for 15-18 minutes or until the butternut squash becomes tender.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. 
  5. Add the pasta to the saucepan along with the cheese and cooked pancetta. Stir until fully mixed and serve immediately.

21 September 2014

Goat's Cheese and Red Onion Filo Parcels

These were a bit of an experiment but turned out well. When doing our weekly food shop we saw something similar in the supermarket and thought we would try to recreate them at home. Using online recipes for guidance we came up with these. I think they would be perfect at a party as buffet food or canapés.

The picture above has still got some flour on the outside from the filo pastry. They still tasted good, but it might improve them if the melted butter was brushed on the outside of them before they were cooked. Here's a photo to show how delicious the filling was!

Makes 10


1 pack Ready-Made Filo Pastry
125g Goat's Cheese
3 Red Onions
25g Walnuts (chopped)
2tbsp Butter
2tbsp Butter (melted)


1. Peel the onions and finely slice them into half-moon shapes. Add the 2 tbsp of butter to a frying pan on a medium heat. Once melted add the onions and cook for 45mins to 1 hour, or until the onions have started to caramelise and have reduced in size, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat.
2. Cut the goat's cheese into 10 chunks. 
3. Cut each filo sheet into 6 rough squares. Using a non-stick baking tray, start to prepare the filo parcels. Lay a square of filo pastry on the baking tray. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers if you don't have one), brush the top of the filo square with the melted butter. Place the next filo square on top at an angle to the first one. Again, brush the top with butter. Place another filo square on top, brush with butter and place the final square on top. You should have 4 layers of filo pastry, which each have been rotated slightly so they are at different angles.
4. Brush the melted butter around the edge of the layered filo in a circle. Place a small amount of the onions in the centre, then place a chunk of goats cheese on top and finally adding some of the chopped nuts.
5. Gather the edges of the filo pastry up around the filling, pressing them together to seal the parcel.
6. Repeat until you have run out of filo pastry and filling. Should make around 10 parcels. When you have finished preparing them, spread them out on the baking tray.
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for 10-15 minutes, or until they are becoming golden on the top and slightly around the outside.

24 August 2014

Banana Pancakes

I have seen a lot of recipes for healthier versions of pancakes around the internet, specifically Pinterest. The healthiest of them all seems to be those made with just eggs and banana. I am a bit sceptical of how these would resemble pancakes and whether they would taste good, so I found something which would look and taste more like a traditional pancake. I didn't see how I would achieve a pancake mixture without at least a small amount of flour, and I only make this occasionally either when I want a more special breakfast or when I have ripe bananas to use up. They taste really good and are fluffy on the inside. Great served with fruit and a little maple syrup. Best thing is how quick and easy they are to make, perfect for breakfast!

Makes 6 and Serves 2-3 people

You will need:
½ Cup of Plain Flour
1½ tsp Granulated Sugar (Optional)
1 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
½ a beaten Egg
½ Cup of Milk (any kind will work, I used Almond Milk)
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 ripe Banana, mashed
¼ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Vanilla Extract  


1. Mix all the dry ingredients in medium sized bowl, and mix all the wet ingredients in a jug.
2. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined and the mixture is smooth. 
3. Heat a frying pan up to a medium heat. Use a ladle or ⅓ cup measure to spoon some mixture into the pan. Cook for a few minutes on each side or until starting to brown a little. 

Enjoy with any of your favourite pancake toppings.

8 March 2014

Requium by Lauren Oliver

I must remember in future to write a book review very soon after I reach the end of a book. I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, so although I expect this review to be very short I thought it deserved being written.

Once again, I will present to you the synopsis for this novel. Surprisingly Amazon doesn't provide this, I guess they assume, rightly so, that you would only want to read this book after reading the previous two. But still, it may be helpful in order to get an overview of the trilogy.

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.

"Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing."

Following the theme of the second book this one is written in a slightly different way. The story is told from both Lena and Hannah's point of view, alternating with each chapter. Their stories and lives seem very separate right up until the end when they ultimately converge. 

I enjoyed reading this book, and would certainly recommend it if you have read the previous two novels in the trilogy. Although I would have to say that this was my least favourite of the three. For a long period in the book the story doesn't seem to be leading anywhere, but the ending does conclude the trilogy and is worth it for that. 

What did you think of this trilogy? Do you have a similar book recommendations?  

4 March 2014

Sweet Potato Curry

This creation was something my Mum and her partner made when they came to stay with us last September, and I've recreated it a few times since. The simplicity of this recipe is down to the number of steps it takes to make. It contains no dairy and can be vegetarian if the prawns are left out or replaced with an alternative.

Serves: 4-6 people

You will need:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion (diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
2-3 tbsp curry paste
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut cream
1 large/medium or 2 small sweet potatoes (diced)
250-300g bag of frozen prawns (defrosted)


1. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan pan. Add the onions and fry until softened. Mix in the curry paste and the red pepper and continue to fry for a couple more minutes.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and sweet potato to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender.
3. Add the prawns to the curry and continue to cook until the prawns have heated up, but no longer as they are already cooked. Serve with rice.

note: this recipe works using either coconut milk or cream, although I do prefer the thicker, slightly richer sauce created using coconut cream. So I would recommend, if you can find it, using coconut cream as a preference.

22 February 2014

Skincare Haul: Origins, REN

Last week I made an online order with both Origins and REN. I decided to order straight from the brands website for both due to the perks of having free delivery and samples from each. That said, I had quite different experiences ordering from each of them.

Nearing the bottom of my jar of the GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer, I took to the brands website to repurchase another when I found their Extra-Zing Energizing Set. This set included the moisturiser I was looking for as well as 4 single use sachets of their Clear Improvement Mask, all for the same price as the moisturiser alone, £23...so I thought, why not? I was also able to choose 2 free sample at the checkout, most of which didn't appeal to me but I chose what I thought were the best options for myself.
The brands online store has free delivery on orders. This is standard delivery of 2-5 working days, and they inform you that the package has to be signed for. This worried me at first as I can't guarantee I will be home to sign for it. This said, it turned out to be fine. The company used the Royal Mail Delivery service, so when I wasn't there to sign for it I simply collected it from the delivery office in the town I live in.

For quite a while now I've been wanting to buy a second cleanser to use in the mornings. The ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser was top of my list, but whilst browsing their online store I came across the Hydra-Calm Cleansing Milk. Both looked like suitable products to fill the space missing in my skincare routine, but I stuck with my original choice and was luckily able to chose the other as one of my free samples at the checkout. The other free sample I chose was the Glycolatic Renewal Mask. I already own this...but who doesn't need more, right? The final product I added to my basket was the No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, which I'm almost out of so while I had the chance of 10% off my first order, I added a back-up to my stocks.
Delivery was also free from this brand but didn't go so smoothly. They use a delivery company who insist on a signed delivery. They also say 2-5 days, but send you a text the morning of the delivery with a one hour delivery slot. I wasn't able to be home on their first 2 attempts of delivery so had to phone up and rearrange it for a much later date than I'd hoped when I knew I'd be at home all day. I never knew it could be so hard to get an online order delivered!

What has your experience been like ordering from beauty brands online? Any recommendations from these brands?

6 February 2014

January Beauty Favourites

I only have a few products that have really stood out to me this month. About 2 months ago I switched up the shampoo and conditioner I was using to to the Herbal Essences Bee Strong Strengthening Shampoo and the TRESemmé Split Remedy Conditioner, when I ran out of the ones I was previously using. I don't know which one of these is contributing, hence why they are both a favourite, but I've noticed that my hair is more shiny that it was before.
I've also been loving my REN No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm. This deserves a whole review of its own. It feels very luxurious to massage into your face and removes all my make up without making my skin feel stripped. It has a slight rose scent, which I happen to quite like. There's really nothing to complain about with this one.

Any tips for fixing/preventing split ends? What are your favourites this month?

1 February 2014

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

After getting hooked on Delirium, I went straight on to reading the following book in the trilogy: pandemonium. I've started writing this review just minutes after reaching the end of the book.

I'm including the synopsis of this book below, but it really doesn't give anything away:

Love, the deadliest of all deadly things. It kills you when you have it. And when you don't.

I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing away thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven told me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.

It took me a while to get used to the way this book was written, and I never quite worked out if I liked it. The book covered two stories both running in parallel, with each chapter alternating between 'then' and 'now'.

The 'then' story follows on from where the previous book left off. It tells the story of Lena's escape into the wilds and how she fits in and adapts to a new way of life. The 'then' story never fully catches up to where the now story starts.

The 'now' story starts by introducing Lena with a new identity, living in Manhattan and working as part of the resistance. She has orders to attend a demonstration and keep watch of one of the leaders. The story takes a turn when herself and the boy she was watching get kidnapped when trying to escape after the demonstration gets boycotted.

I won't give anything away, but the ending was very unexpected. It made me think 'wow' and I instantly wanted to start reading the next book.

Have you read this book? Would you recommend it?

30 January 2014

First Beauty Haul of the Year

I hadn't been shopping since before Christmas. I had desperately wanted to go shopping in the sales after seeing some good offers online, but with so much work to do it simply wasn't feasible. Last Friday I took the first chance I had and spent the afternoon wandering around some of my favourite shops in Brighton.

Hydraluron by Indeed Labs £24.99
I have heard so much about this, mostly from Caroline Hirons, that I felt like I just had to have it in my skincare routine. About half a year ago I started investing more into my skincare products, but it still takes a lot of deliberation before I take the plunge on a more expensive purchase. After seeing it on offer on Boots website for only £16.66, it was a price I couldn't refuse.

The Body Shop - Pink Grapefruit Body Mist £7.50
Just over a month ago when I was in London, we went into The Body Shop and I sprayed the tester of this on my wrist. I remember repeatedly being pleasantly surprised when I got a whiff of the scent throughout the rest of the day. Since then it's been on my list of things I want.

Superdrug - Aloe Vera Mud Mask £2.49
After hearing lilypepples talking about this face mask, it sounded like a great inexpensive one to try. I very rarely use face masks but thought it would be a nice treat to add to my skincare regime. This isn't yet on the Superdrug website, although the sachet version is.

Gillette Venus Proskin Sensitive £9.69
This is a re-purchase of the best razor blades I have tried. I only recently invested in the razor with changeable heads rather than the disposables that I sed to use. 

Superdrug Deep Cleansing Fruit Mask £0.99
A buy one get one half price offer, so I couldn't resist trying a different mask for just 50p. If the bigger size tube of this one was included in the offer I may have gone for that instead.

The Body Shop - Pink Grapefruit Body Butter
As above, there was another buy one get one half price offer on, so I went for the body butter in the matching scent to the body mist I had chosen. The only size I could find of this in store was the 50ml version, yet on the website I can only find the 200ml version.

Rimmel Glam Eyes HD in Brixton Brown £6.99
I had spotted this in Boots a month or so ago, but was very hesitant to try something else when I love my Naked palette so much. This is another one that I saw recommend by lilypepples (here) and compared to the Charlotte Tillbury Dolce Vita palette. I could see myself getting a lot of use out of this, and as I hadn't had any new eyeshadows in over 2 year I thought, why not?

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think to them?

21 January 2014

No Heat Waves

I don't actually own any curling wands, or hair straighteners...I don't even own a hairdryer! This is what I do when I want to add some waves to my hair. It's so easy and creates really lovely waves, I really should do it more often.

Day 1
After I've showered and washed my hair, I put it up in a towel to dry while I get the rest of myself dressed and ready. When I've finished my makeup, I will take the towel of my hair and comb through it with a wide tooth comb. My hair takes quite a while to dry and at this stage it is still very damp. I split my hair into two halves and do a french braid on each side of my head. On my left I leave out my side fringe, and I like to make sure the braid is quite neat and tight all the way down.

Day 2
After I've finished getting ready in the morning I take out the braids, using my fingers to separate them. I don't brush or comb through my hair at all as this ruins how the waves look. I give my hair a light spritz of hairspray to help maintain the waves throughout the day.

Day 3
On the third day, I brush through my hair gently. The waves are still a little visible, but mostly my hair just has a slightly crimped affect and more volume than it normally would.

Hope you give this super easy hairstyle a go, and let me know if you have any other ways of creating no heat hairstyles.

19 January 2014

A Piece of Thoughtful Writing

My boyfriend, Michael, asked me to share something he had written, so I thought why not. It's something he had written a few years ago, but I like it. It's meaningful and makes you think.  

          Home is where the heart is,
          To build a strong castle you must begin with a strong base,
          It does not matter where your heart is,
          But who it is with,
          My heart is with my family,
          I begin with them,
          I must build my base strong before I build my middle and top floors,
          My floors are my future, but will become my present,
          I travel into the future, but cannot travel back into the past,
          My past will be lost,
          My past isn't in a place, but a time,
          In my mind, time stands still,
          Memories have no time scale,
          In my mind, my past is my base,
          It is my heart,
          It is everything that I fight for,
          Make my base better, make my base stronger,
          When my future becomes my present,
          My base will keep my castle strong,
          And when my castle becomes my past,
          From foundations, to ground, to middle, to top,
          When my past becomes their past,
          Death comes to us all,
          I shall die happy,
          And when my past becomes their past,
          My castle would have stood strong for centuries,
          And when their past becomes their past,
          My castle would have been admired for an eternity,
          As I have admired those past, who made my base strong.

          By Milrus

18 January 2014

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I've heard this book recommended by so many people, that it had to be the first book I brought on my Kindle Paperwhite. After just recently finishing it, I thought I would do a little reveiw.

To save from giving too much away, I decided to share with you the synopsis written on the back of the book:

"They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie."

 This is a dystopian novel. If you don't know what that means, a dystopia is a society that is frightening or undedesirable to live in. In this case, the society is made to believe that love is a disease and live in fear of becoming infected (falling in love).

The story starts of with the main character Lena, who has believed what she has been told her whole life and is counting down the days until her procedure. She believes that the cure will give her safety and security, stability. She doesn't know any different until her friend Hana opens her eyes to things Lena didn't know existed. And then she meets Alex, and the world she lives in is changed forever.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning about this new society, thinking about the ideas brought up. When you're told the symptoms of disease 'amor deliria nervosa' they are all things that can happen when someone falls in love and it's easy to understand why in this society it is looked upon as a bad thing. But as you continue to read you learn that everything they know is built upon lies.

I highly recommend this book and loved it so much I started reading the second in the trilogy right away.

14 January 2014

New Year 2014

Once again, we've come to the end of yet another year. Where does the time go? This year has been an amazing one for me with so many great memories to look back on. 

At the beginning of the year I had only recently met Michael. We spent the first week of the year together in Norwich, and by June we had moved into our first flat together. I passed my first year at University, and am now halfway through my second as well as halfway through the course. I put together a short video to sum up my year.

I don't usually make new years resolutions, but this year I thought it would be a great opportunity to make a few changes and achieve a few goals.
1. Make changes throughout the year towards a healthier lifestyle.
2. Pass my driving test.
3. Be less lazy and more productive.
4. Pass my second year at University.

By the end of 2014 I hope I can say that I have achieved these things, and have another great year to look back on.