28 July 2013

Sunday Snaps

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1. Last weeks Royal Shakespeare, outdoor festival performance of 'Othello'. Beautiful weather, great little performers. / 2. Sunshine silhouette. / 3. Amazing Wiltshire sunset. / 4. I was handed a packet of these retro delights - to be honest, they didn't taste good but the messages are super cute though! / 5. This week there were a few bad foods laying about at work - managed to avoid the majority, however, I cannot resist a Victoria Sponge, particularly one that looks like this! / 6. Hot and flagging in the office. / 7. Weekend of blog scheduling and Starwars Sunday! / 8. Not coming off too well on the food front this week, but it is not as bad as it may seem! A couple of Jelly Babies only - turned into Eskimos - gotta be done. / 9. Chocolate mousse - end of term celebration!


26 July 2013

Loving, Needing, Meh! #5

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This week I am LOVING:
  • Holidays! I made it people! My poor brain started on its journey to being thoroughly melted this week but here we are, the Summer Holidays, and all is well!
  • Pretend shopping. This has become a new hobby, spending half hour on a site, mooching along in the hyperthetical aisles and putting things in my basket. It really is so satisfying, and a little tragic, but needs must when all you have in your purse are moths...
  • My 'Summer Holiday To-Do List'. If you know me then you will know I like being busy, I am rarely found laying about - feel far to guilty about that! So I have written myself a very long list of tasks to do over the break and am quite looking forward to ploughing through them!
This week I am NEEDING:
  • A nice meal out! I feel like I would like to  have one of those lazy days that ends with a late meal out somewhere - sitting outside, maybe with a glass of something cold (it's rare I say that as I don't drink really). Need a bit of an indulgence day real soon.
  • Oh, and my hair needs colouring - desperatly!  
This weeks 'MEH!:
  • This weeks 'Meh!' is a silly one! I am sick of people whinging on about hearing too much about the Royal Baby. So what people!! I think it is lovely and fascinating and it is our history and our future so get over it! I love William and Kate and I love that they have had a baby boy. People go on and on about their babies but moan about the amount of coverage it has got. If you don't like it, don't watch it!!! :-)


24 July 2013

My 'Lifestyle' tab is born!

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I have wanted to start adding to my lifestyle tab for a little while but have been a bit hesitant for a whole variety of reasons. If you don't know me at all I have a background in the health and fitness industry. I have done most things, from teaching classes to dabbling in management. I am madly passionate about fitness, specifically the psychological gains to be had from regular training. What I was a bit weary of was this section coming across in the wrong way. This is based purely on my own experiences and thoughts, so I would like to make that clear from the start! The other thing that was niggling away at me was the fact that I am not the stereo typical fitness type (whatever that is these days!) - I have Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which, in a nut shell, has the side effect of holding onto body fat like no tomorrow, amongst other lovely things. I am always scared of being judged as unfit as I am not tiny. Now I am a bit older I try not to let it get to me, I know I am fit and healthy and do my up most to do all the right things to help the condition.

What I would like to add to this section of the blog is my general thoughts on motivation, different tips on gym training or things that can be done at home with no equipment. I may also write a few things PCOS based - what foods I find I should avoid and what things help.

I am going to put this together over the summer break so stay tuned for that and feel free to ask any questions along the way too.


21 July 2013

Handmade Coconut Oil Body Scrub

What do I need?
This is so easy to make it is unreal! Your biggest ingredient is, of course, the coconut oil itself. It is best purchased from a health food shop as it will be so much cheaper than buying it on a beauty site (they tend to over charge). You can use the oil for so many things that, once you have a big jar of it, you will start finding lots of ways to put it into action!

I got my oil, which is an organic virgin coconut oil, from Dolphin Fitness. The brand is 'Biona' and it came in at around £6.95 for 400gms. I have seen it on beauty sites for as much as £14.00 for the same thing in a prettier bottle but, honestly, don't waste your money! 

For my recipe, apart from the coconut oil, you will need:
- One lime (you can also add lemon too if you would like)
- Brown sugar
- A mixing bowl
- Spoon
- Air tight jar or Tupperware box (to store)

What do I do?
Step One:
Tip desired amount of brown sugar into your mixing bowl.
Step Two:
Take a spoon full of coconut oil and mix into the sugar - you may need to use more or less depending on the amount of sugar you have in the bowl. The consistency needs to be such that when you rub it into your skin the sugar doesn't just fall straight off. You will need to judge this as you are mixing.
Step Three:
Squeeze in your lime juice (and/or lemon to suit) - stir.
Step Four:
Put into a suitable container. For hygiene reasons I would suggest having a spoon to hand when using as its not ideal to get lots of water sitting in the container (especially in this weather!). 

*Bear in mind that coconut oil is a solid below a certain temperature so if you make more than one batch and store in the fridge you will need to remove with time to spare for softening!

Other beauty uses for coconut oil:
- Massage into cuticles
- Apply to ends of hair for 30 minutes and then shampoo and condition as normal for nourishing hair mask
- Use on troublesome dry skin areas

Stay tuned for some more beauty recipes soon!



20 July 2013

Loving, Needing, Meh! #4

This week I am LOVING:
  • BBQ's! Recently discovered BBQ'd bacon - there is no going back! Meat and salad and sun...perfect!
  • Watching some of our little primary school kids performing Shakespeare in the outside 'Othello' performance at work! (cute!)
  • Fragrance Direct... Oh. My. God. Nail varnishes I normally buy in other shops for £3.99 are 99p, granted, you have to accept the colours they have in at the time but still! (I have never looked at the site before as I thought it was strictly fragrance, but it is nice, check it out for a bargain - be ready to rummage!)
This week I am NEEDING:
  • Sleep! I had one late night last Saturday and I am still recovering I swear! Not one drink passed my lips and I felt hungover. What is that about??? 
  • A new collarbone - mine is back in painsville and hurting all the damn time right now :-(
  • Christmas stock for craft markets! I have started preparing for the Christmas season but ordering a few new things to make pretty Christmas hearts with embossed lettering - watch this space - more info to come.
This weeks 'MEH!'
  • Sweat! Don't get me wrong, I am loving the sun and the fact that I don't need a jumper on or a scarf, but, my word, it is sweat central at work. Trying to look half decent and professional whilst dripping with sweat is not attractive or a look I wish to continue with. Thankfully for me, and everyone else in the building, it is almost the holidays! Woo hoo!


18 July 2013

July's favourites (so far!)

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Before I do the videos I have been promising for the beauty bits and bobs I mentioned in an earlier post I thought I would do a short post about some of the other things I have been loving recently, I will do a video about these too.

So, I have been really getting back in to highlighters recently, I think now the sun's out it is nice to have a pretty glow to the skin. I have heard a few bloggers talking about this one and thought I would give it a go! Essie Button tweeted about a special offer so I went for it. At £15.00 (full price) it is not cheap at all but as I got it reduced I was happy to go with it. The product is by the brand 'The Balm' and is called 'Mary-Lou Manizer'. I got mine from Feel Unique but you can get it from a few other online stores too. It comes in a trendy compact, with a mirror inside, and is highly pigmented so I would recommend tapping your brush off slightly before sweeping it onto your cheeks. I really like it overall and use it in the inner corner of my eye to really make the eyes 'pop' open as well as on the top of the cheek bones. The only thing to be wary of is how soft the powder is - it may not be one to leave rattling about in your handbag!

I will be doing a nail varnish video soon but I recently purchased the Sally Hanson Mega Shine topcoat from Boots (£6.39). I have some varnishes that chip like crazy after just one day, but with this top coat they have hugely improved staying power - I am very impressed! I will talk about this more at a later date!

You may have noticed in a couple of recent pictures that I have been sporting wavy hair! I have always wanted to do this but the curls usually drop straight out before I have reached the bottom of the stairs! I went to Tescos and brought this Leo Bancroft 'Totally Protected' spray and haven't looked back since. I can't remember exactly how much this was, but it was under £5.00, and well worth every penny. I use it after washing my hair and spray it throughout, adding a bit more to the ends. Then blow-dry. After this, when I am separating my hair into sections, I spray a bit more on then curl. It holds well and protects! Bargain!

I love bright lip colours but they are not always appropriate for work. This new lip crayon, by Bourgeois, is a fantastic compromise! It comes in four, very wearable shades (mine is Orange Punch), and is just enough colour to add impact plus is highly moisturising. At £7.99 (full price) it is not the cheapest out there but you can certainly feel the moisture added to your lips and it has a pretty shine too.

Lastly are two products by Rimmel. Desperate for a new concealer I mooched about in Boots until this one caught my eye by Rimmel. It is called Match Perfection Illuminating Concealer - I have the shade Ivory. It comes in a squeezable tube with a brush on the end - it is hard to control the amount you are squeezing out but other than that it is really nice. It gives fairly good coverage and does what it says on the tin - illuminates! All good when you are tired and busy! The second product was the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Khol Eyeliner, in Nude (£3.99). I have always used a white eyeliner in the waterline of my eyes but heard that this shade is so much more natural and that is so true! It really opens the eyes and it lasts most of the day! 

Hang on in there for more via the medium of a video - more reviews to come!


16 July 2013

You shall go to the ball...

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I went along to a very posh Summer Ball recently. It was so hot but a really nice evening. Despite my lack of any suitable attire I managed to decide on my trusty Christmas LBD and go with it anyway!

1. Before dinner we cracked open the croquet and I tried to remember I was wearing a short dress whilst being super competitive - not very lady like! / 2. The theme was old Hollywood, you could dress up to go with the theme of the evening and there were some awesome costumes! / 3. I may not have had the outfit but I tried the curls, red lips, gold shadow and flicky cat eyes instead! / 4. Me in the toilet! Yes, glamorous! /  5. The band (look at the old paintings! So beautiful) / 6. The Queen watching us all eat. / 7. Dinner! What a feast! / 8. The most important course, dessert. Amazing! / 9. The ice sculpture. Impressive.


13 July 2013

July Wish List.

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1. Black Aztec Print Maxi Dress £22.99 from Newlook
2. Nail Varnish in 'Collegiate' £5.00 from Topshop
    Nail Varnish in 'Stage Dive' £5.00 from Topshop
3. Clean Tube Collar Necklace £10.00 from Topshop
4. Michelle Top £25.00 (sale) from Hush
5. Chiffon Shirt £40.00 (sale) from Hush
6. Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser £3.40 from Boots
7. Molecule 01 perfume £Various from Cult Beauty 
8. Gold Wishbone Above Knuckle Ring £26.00 from Bohemian Collective
    Gold Above Knuckle Ring £26.00 from Bohemian Collective
9. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil £16.50 from Boots
10. Ankle Grazer Chinos £40.00 from Fat Face


12 July 2013

Loving, Needing, Meh! #3

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Happy Friday everyone! Welcome to this weeks 'Loving, Needing, Meh!'... I think I have succumbed to the fact that life is going to be pure madness until the end of this month! We have our Arts Week next week at work which will be fab but MANIC!! 

This week I am LOVING: 
  • Pastel mint nails! So fresh an apparently 'on trend', get me!
  • My mum cooking me fish-fingers and chips when I came home from school this week! (I felt about 8 years old again! - Not healthy but hey, not like I have it everyday, I was being all nostalgic!)
  • The countdown! Only two more weeks until the summer holidays people! I have lots to do and will be making some bits and pieces to feature on here too! Can't wait!
  • Monday's boxing! I am blessed with some awesome partners who yell at me, usually Laura, recently substituted for Claire, who has now 'dumped me' for her usual partner who has just returned from sunny Florida - so I was fostered by Rich this week! Thanks Rich!
This week I am NEEDING:
  • To be a proper girl! It dawned on me this week, as I contemplated the various 'do's' I am invited to this month, that I have no clothes to wear to a nice event. As I opted for my one and only LBD (several years old and usually only aired once a year) I realised I am lacking in the wardrobe department. I have no nice, smart shoes. Zero. My work ones have 'drivers wobbly heel syndrome' and will shortly need throwing out. I have no bags other than one sports bag and a handbag my best friend brought me donkeys ago. Tragic. So if you have invited me somewhere and I look like a sporty seconds reject please have pity on me!
This weeks 'MEH!':
  • So, as mentioned above, I am off out and thought I would attempt a bit of glamour! (I may not have the clothes but I can do the make-up - it's the artist in me!). I decided to purchase some natural looking false eyelashes. Well, they said 'natural' on the packaging. Maybe it is just me, maybe I am just too self conscious or perhaps I have watching too much TOWIE and am frightened of replicating the overdone look (I love TOWIE btw, not being insulting - but I don't carry off bling too well! Subtle is more me!). So I thought I would have a trial run. I did my make up how I want it to be for the event and set up base camp in the bathroom. They said on a video I watched to place them, without glue, on the lashline, to see what they would look like and OMG!! Have you seen the Rocky Horror Show?? If not, have you ever seen a badly made up drag queen? Enough said. Thank God I hadn't stuck them on. I am now in search of some even more natural ones - or just a bloody good mascara!!


9 July 2013

Before I'm 40...

I am 32. Most people have a list of what they want to do in life or places they want to go and you are about to read mine. Buckle up, there's not a garden centre in sight!

1. Take a trip to New York City. I have always wanted to go and quite fancy going in the Autumn, or 'Fall' as they say! I am more of a country girl than a city dweller but who can resist the eclectic city that never sleeps?
2. A romantic weekend in Paris anyone? Yes please! Beautiful architecture, art galleries, cafes... another city break!
3. Get on the property ladder. Please.God. Nuff said!
4. Exhibit some new art work in a small, local gallery. I really want to make more time for making art work. I love it when I get going, but when I have a break from it it is hard to reignite the creative juices. I want to get my teeth stuck in to something properly and really go for it, doing what I used to do at university; enter competitions and try to get recognised for something!
5. Drive an Audio R8/Ferrari/Porsche on a race track. I would love that! I did an experience day for my 21st Birthday, which was awesome, that was in a Formula 4 car. I wannna go for the big guns!
6. Learn to surf and kite board, in any order. I am such a water baby and would love to pack up my gear on a whim and head to Cornwall to surf. I adore being outside and know I would fall in love with it.
7. Have a holiday on my own. This doesn't have to be anything major. Perhaps I can go on a little jaunt to my favourite place (as mentioned above), Cornwall, and take part in some surfing lessons and the odd art class. Two birds with one stone.
8. Rock climbing / Indoor wall climbing. Either way, I want to try it! It has always appealed to me.
9. Finish my children's book. I did a short course a year and a bit ago which taught the basics of writing a book for children. I have the idea, just needs firming up and illustration.
10. Gigs! I have a few people I would like to see, including Muse and Mumford and Sons. I have been lucky enough to see my top two this year: Matchbox Twenty and County Crows! Lucky lady.
11. Upgrade the Ford KA to a smart Mini. Yes please.
12. Go somewhere very, very dark. I am beyond desperate to see the stars. The real bright stars. If you go to the right place you can even see the Milkyway - that's the place for me, wherever it is.
13. Speaking of space - the Kennedy Space Centre. If you have read this blog thoroughly thus far you will know I am a space geek. The space centre would be the best!
14. I would like swimming lessons. Call me 4 years old but that's what I would like! I want to be taught to front crawl without looking like I am drowning.
15. Scotland. I would like to go to the obvious places like Edinburgh, but would also like to travel to some of the smaller, really remote islands surrounding the country to photograph and sketch the landscape.

There you have it. A small list. I am sure it will need amending, but they are some of the biggest things I would love to tick off before I hit the big 4-0!


7 July 2013

Sunday Snaps

Looking at the photo's from the last 14 days it looks like all I have been doing is gardening! I need to get myself together and start doing something more interesting whilst I still can! To be fair, I have been super busy, and will be for the next couple of weeks so bear with me! 

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1. Attempting to 'bring on' some succulents in a little pot to make a terrarium for indoors. / 2. This didn't happen! / 3. Two small treats - 'The Balms' highlighter, to add a little glow to my poor tired face (see picture 8!) and a colourful Maybeline nail polish to add a pop of brightness to my hands. / 4. Beautiful peonies, one of my favourite flowers, I was lucky to receive a bunch of these this week. / 5. Er... my foot, in the sun! / 6. Another garden centre trip, looking at lavender this time. I am growing some from seed which I hope will look like this in the not to distant future. / 7. A trip to my favourite place! Box Bell Fit. / 8. A tired Monday face. / 9. Violas!! Beautiful little violas! 


6 July 2013

Loving, Needing, Meh! #2

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This week has been so mad that my life is going to look very dull, but I have been working solidly and not had time in the evenings to do anything of any interest to anyone (not even me) so forgive the small list!

This week I am LOVING:
  • Mumford and Sons! I saw their live Glastonbury set on Sunday and thought 'why haven't I listened to more of their stuff?'. So I ventured onto iTunes to check out a couple of tracks I liked only to discover I had already brought one of their albums ages ago! Doh! Good news for me though!
  • July! I cannot believe it is July already! Only a few weeks until the summer holidays which means serious training and art work time!
  • The Penguin Dance on YouTube. Yes, I know I am probably about a year behind everyone else, but I heard some kids at school singing it and it cracked me up!
This week I am NEEDING:
  • A serious hair cut! Someone needs to drag me to a salon immediately!
  • Some 'down' time. I need to pack myself a little bag for the day and head out somewhere interesting and just relax for a whole day. Can't wait to do that soon. It may be time for another Hever Castle trip!
  • One word. 'Ebay'. I discovered a black sack in the back of my car that holds clothing that I need to Ebay. Just get on with it Lucy!
This weeks 'MEH!'
  • This weeks 'Meh!' is directly related to another YouTube clip. As I missed the 'This Morning' interview this week, where that stupid woman off of The Apprentice discussed how she would not let her precious little angels mix with children with certain names associated with the working class population I caught up with it last night. Seriously? What a total joke! I have never been made so angry by an interview. I had to laugh when they said something like '...so you won't let you children socialise with other kids with geographical names?', 'Isn't your daughter called India?'. I mean, for Gods sake! Watch it if you haven't seen it. Appalling excuse for a woman.

Healthy Meatball Recipe

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So, here we go, another recipe, this time for some yummy, healthy meatballs, made from scratch. I am more and more behind the thought of cooking up batches of food so that a) you don't have to work too hard to cook during the week when you are busy and b) to save some money and make your food go further. The ingredients in this recipe are not measured out to any strict amount, it really is personal preference, so I won't put exact quantities. This is a delicious recipe and you can serve it up however you want. I have rice with mine sometimes, but you could just have salad, if you are carb watching or even sweet potato wedges? Maybe?!

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Your ingredient list is as follows:
For the Meatballs:
- One pack of mince beef (I go for the best I can find and the leanest)
- Breadcrumbs (optional - I don't always have these and it seems ok without!)
- Salt & pepper
- One medium egg

For the sauce:
- Two tins of chopped tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- One large red onion 
- Mushrooms (I don't always add these but if I have some I will!)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chilli paste (or finely chopped chillis)
- Garlic paste / one crushed clove of garlic
- Fresh herbs / Mixed dry herbs

What do I do?
For the sauce:
I tend to start with the sauce as it takes a while to reduce down.
1. Chop the onions to whatever size you prefer and pop in a saucepan to soften with a tiny bit of butter.
2. Add 2 cans of chopped tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of tomato puree.
3. Add some herbs, chilli & garlic paste and salt/pepper to season.
Allow this all to simmer down to a thicker consistency. This can take a while so don't panic!

For the Meatballs:
1. Put mince into a bowl. 
2. Add the egg and some salt and pepper and herbs if you would like to.
3. Get your hands in the bowl and mix it all together well.
4. Put a tiny bit of Olive Oil onto a plate. Then take a small amount of the mixture and 'ball' it in your hands.
5. Either put a little oil onto your hands to coat the meatball or lightly roll the ball into the oil. This saves you using lots of oil to fry them in and instead it just cooks on this little oil plus its own fats.

Heat a pan and add the meatballs. Turn frequently and cook until there is no more pink in the centre of the largest meatball. When cooked place them into the sauce to cook for a couple of minutes more. Serve with rice or whatever takes your fancy!



2 July 2013

Beauty Time!

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Recently I have been desperate for some new bits and pieces. Mostly because everything I own is so tatty but also just to make me feel better about myself after a tough time of things. I read a lot of blogs and, as previously mentioned I have recently subscribed to many vlogs on Youtube, so I do see what all the popular products are and I reallllly lust after them. I am an advertisers dream, believe me. That said I cannot afford to splurge on these things so am making it my mission to discover the cheaper versions of these products.

I want to make a couple of short videos telling you about the products I am about to mention and give you my opinion on them and will try to get them filmed as soon as I have allowed myself enough time to experiment with the goodies.

Firstly, I went onto 'Latest in Beauty' a great website that allows you to register and get some free samples (just pay £1.50 for P & P) as well as receive lovely little boxes of products, containing some higher brands, for much less money. It is a great way of trialing things that you have had your eye on. I ordered one of their 'Beauty Boxes' and received the following (which I am excited to try): Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel in Peachy, Benefit's They're Real Mascara in Black, Daniel Sandler's Long Lasting Waterproof Eyeliner in Black Velvet, Bellapierre Cosmetics Eye Shimmer in Celebration, L'Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream, Inika Liquid Mineral Foundation in Beige and The Vintage Cosmetic Company's Eyelash Curler and Eye-shadow Brush. Overall I have a delightful mixture of things to try so watch this space and I will get back to you!

The other things I have been using this week are the Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm, Garnier's Anti-aging BB Cream, L'Oreals Colour Riche Nail Colour in French Riviera and one of the new Garnier Moisture Match Creams (normal skin). 

So, there you have it, I will link the outcomes of all these products very soon!

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