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Friday, 27 June 2014

coconut bread

Ever since Olivia posted this recipe for Coconut Bread back at the beginning of April, it's been on my 'must bake' list.  I love coconut, and I love bread, it's a win-win situation.

Now, I was not disappointed.  This bread is a dream, and I have been enjoying this in every way you can imagine, with fresh berries and yoghurt as per Olivia, toasted with a little bit of butter, fresh out the oven with A LOT of nutella, and plain and simple all on it's own.

I've made it several times since, and served it to every member of my family, and most of the boy's, and it's been thumbs up all round.

 2 eggs
- 300ml milk
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 375g plain flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 2tsp ground cinnamon
- 220g caster sugar
- 150g shredded coconut
- 75g melter unsalted butter 
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line a loaf tin! 

2. Whisk your eggs, milk and vanilla into a bowl until slightly frothy. In a separate bowl sift your flour, baking powder and cinnamon. 
3. Add your sugar and coconut to to the dry mixture, and stir until combined. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and gradually pour in your egg mixture, stirring each bit as you go. 

4. Add in your melted butter and stir in until just combined, try to not over mix! 
5. Carefully pop into your preheated oven and bake for one hour (or a little more until nice and crisp)- check with a skewer before removing to check it's all done too!

6. Leave to cool on a wire wrack, and serve with whatever takes your fancy.

Oh, and just for the record, I'm not normally a cinnamon fan, but it combined with the coconut, it works a treat!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

the spotted jeans

Last week, I seemed to well and truly lose my blogging mojo! However hard I tried, I just couldn't drum up the enthusiasm to start writing, let alone edit photos and come up with post titles...ha, I can never come up with post titles, let alone when I've got blogging block.

But then, I put on my new spotted jeans, who WOULDN'T want to blog about these bad boys, just look at them! 

I'd had my eye on these for a while, well, if truth be told, I couldn't squeeze my ass into the size I wanted to purchase, and unfortunately my local (read tiny) H&M didn't stock the size up.  Until one day, like magic, they appeared and I whipped them up quicker than you can say 'hello latest blog post'!

Jeans - H&M
Tee - Topshop
Denim Jacket* - French Connection
Trainers - Converse

If you're a fan, just be warned, these jeans are TIGHT! I'm wearing a size I'd rather not admit too, and even in these I was lunging down the corridors at work at every opportunity when no-one was around.  And I've never felt satisfaction like it, after peeling them off later in the evening after consuming garlic bread and pizza. 
So a size (or two) up, would be much advised.

And can we take a moment or two to appreciate the Converse too please, I think I'll have to have these surgically removed from my feet... pastel perfection and uber comfy too.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

m&s essentials - the wedding outfit

Summer has started, and that means one thing, wedding season is here.  When you reach the ripe of old of 29 like me, then all of a sudden your diary seems to fill up with the impending nuptials of close friends, I love a good wedding, so I'm not complaining but it means I've become an expert at packing the essentials.

I've had one wedding so far this year, and another three to go, and in typical female fashion, I'm not prepared to wear the same dress twice.  Next month is wedding number 2, and somehow I've got the dress sorted already, a rarity for me, and the essentials are nailed...

Good quality underwear, a trusty lip balm, a decent long lasting lippie, some statement sunglasses, and a handbag sized perfume.  And why look anywhere else when you've got M&S on your doorstop, offering all those things under one roof?

M&S has always been my first choice for underwear, it's got great choice, it's good quality and their sizes fit me (hurrah).  Despite the bold colour of this dress, both dark and light colours show up on photos, so those white granny knickers are a no-no, and the slinky black frenchies aren't going to work either, I don't want to be stood next to the bride with my undies peeking through.  M&S came to the rescue with this coral set, it's the perfect shade so it won't show up with even the brightest flash, plus on Summer days, this fantastic colour is the kind of bra strap I don't mind having on show...just imagine it against a tan!

I never think an outfit looks complete without a well painted lip.  As I suffer from dry lips, I always carry a lip balm with me, whatever the occasion, this is an essential for me.  But what's a lip balm without a good lipstick.  This Autograph ultimate shine lipstick is long lasting, and ultra moisturising, and the wide range of colours means you can get one to match every outfit, I've already stocked up!  

And as Summer approaches, it's almost here, right? There's just two final things I always rely on for looking and feeling fresh at a wedding.  Weddings can get hot, and sticky, and that's never good, so I like to have some perfume with me, obviously I don't want to walk around with a big full sized bottle of Daisy in my handbag, so this pocket sized fragrance is perfect.  And the smell is super light, and refreshing so it won't overwhelm all the other guests when you go for touch up later in the day.

And last but not least, a good pair of sunnies.  I tend not to wear them for the professional photos, poser-alert, but I like to don them for a selfie or two with friends.  Hides the fact you're squinting against the sun, and with these big bad boys, you feel like a least I did! That's assuming the sun is shining, which it always does for weddings, right? At least tell me it does, as I'm keeping everything crossed for a beautiful summer's day when I say those two special words 'I Do' next year.

So that's my wedding outfit essentials wrapped up.  As you can see, I now just need a decent pair of shoes to go with this dress, I'm thinking white? Then it'd be rude not to get a matching clutch, yeah? Yeah I think so...I'm off shopping!

Dress - Urban Outfitters
Handbag - Accessorize
Shoes - River Island
Watch - Michael Kors
Sunglasses / Lip Gloss / Lip Balm / Perfume / Underwear* - Marks and Spencer

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

a healthy life - week 23

Well for a while I didn't think I'd be posting anymore 'healthy life' posts, my diet and lifestyle was far from healthy, and I didn't think anyone would want to read week after week, posts about how once again I'd fallen off the bandwagon, and was looking for motivation, I'd eaten a whole block of cheese in one go, and drank 4 pints of ice cream mixed with lard.  For the record, I didn't do either of those things, but you get the picture.

Since Easter, I'd struggled to find the motivation to get back on track.  Cakes and chocolate were winning over salad, fruit, and vegetables, and exercise was non-existent (no change there then).  But, after a couple of weeks months, I was well and truly suffering for it.  I was feeling much more uncomfortable in myself, bloated and lethargic, and feeling paranoid about my stomach (the area I put weight on first, and struggle to shift), a serious case of cake overload.  So, after my wee family holiday away (believe me when I say I ate my own body weight in cake), I have a new found motivation.

So I'm sure you want to hear all about it yeah? Well, where do I start.  I got back from my mini-break last Wednesday, I gave myself four days to get 'on-it' before I hit the scales on Monday morning.  I like a weekly weigh-in, it gives me something to work towards, and keeps me focused if I've had  bad week.  Luckily the scales weren't TOO painful, yes I've put on 4lbs, but I'm stll 6lb lighter than when I started this challenge.  Plus, back to the 'bodyweight in cake' situation, I don't think 4lbs is bad going.

I'm calorie counting again, I know some people don't believe in this, but it works for me.  I'm walking to work every day, yes it may only be about a 12 minute work but I'm definitely feeling better for it, and the big news is, I've bought a skipping rope.  Yep, back to playground days, only it's much harder work than I remember and it really, really hurts if it hits you on the leg.

Combine that with the longer walks I've been doing with the boy, we went up a mountain and we even bought proper walking shoes (it pained me to spend money on them!) plus ten minutes of skipping 3 times a week and I think things are looking brighter.  Oh, you noticed I only do ten minutes of skipping? Do you know how hard it is to skip for ten minutes without stopping? Skipping was one of the few fitness related things I was good at as a child, so I'm determined to bring out the inner child in me, and I enjoy it, somehow it seem less painful than running, and no-one can see me in the privacy of my own garden!

With a bikini-clad holiday coming up in 4 weeks, I've determined to shift that 4lbs, that's a 1lb a week...totally achievable, right?

And if you're interested, I just bought this skipping rope from Sports Direct, a bargain at £2.99, but if you can recommend any good skipping youtubers, or skipping workouts for beginners, then do let me know!

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Monday, 9 June 2014

my blogging secret

When I first started writing this little ol' blog over two years ago, I never had intentions of keeping it a secret.  Having always been a lover of clothes and fashion, and spent most days reviewing the 'New In' section of all my favourite retailers, reading blogs became an obvious next stage.  I loved reading about where ordinary people shopped, how they put outfits together and their latest fashion bargains. I liked that sense of being able to afford and source the same pieces as them, unlike the celebrity fashion I previously followed.

After a while I decided to start blogging myself.  I never felt my style was particularly unique, but I liked to write and blogging seemed like an achievable way to have a little creative area of my own.   So on the 18th March 2012 I sat down and wrote my first post, which if you're really interested, you can read here.  I knew nothing about how to start, what to write about or how to take a decent photo.  I had read hundreds of other blogs though and felt confident enough to give  it a go.  I planned to get it up and running, and then I'd tell friends and family.  

But as time went on, I started to feel a bit embarrassed by it.  Assuming my friends who didn't read blogs would find it self-indulgent, why would anyone want to read about my H&M jeans, and Topshop t-shirts.  Whose interested in which lipstick I'm wearing this week, and those close up photos of me aren't so flattering.  So I started keeping it a secret.  Although I felt my mum would be impressed, I was sure the inner teacher in her would comment on my grammatical errors, unflattering photos and the words I've heard her say often 'I'm not sure about that outfit'.  

And so up until last week, only the boy (my photographer) and a few colleagues (due to mentioning it in interviews) knew about 'all about the girl', and even when those few did mention it, I instantly blushed and tried to move the conversation on.  

However, this week something happened.  A birthday present from my best friend arrived in the post.  To my complete surprise, the present was the beautiful yellow shoes I'd featured in my birthday wishlist.  I was sure my friend couldn't possibly have taken a punt on them, although she knows me well, yellow clogs are a pretty big risk.  When I text to thank her profusely, a part of my knew she'd found my blog, but I couldn't bring myself to ask her outright, so I acted ignorant and proclaimed 'How did you know?!'.  She replied and said she'd been planning to buy me something from Dahlia (she really does know me too well) and how she'd discovered my blog as I'd tweeted to them.  

Again, I immediately felt my cheeks burning, and an overwhelming sense of embarrassment.  I know it seems silly, but it's been a secret I'd kept for 2 years, and for her to stumble across it just filled me with fear, what would she think?! Of course, there's a reason we have friends, and that's because they love you for who you are, and what you do, her reply?

'Don't be embarrassed, you should be proud, it's great'.

And she's right, I should be proud, and so I'm typing this a little more confidently and a big smile on my face.  I am proud of this little space, yes I'd like my photos to be better, my writing to have more flair, and my posts to be more regular, but I'm working on that.

Just don't get me wrong, I have no intentions to go tell everyone about it, but maybe we'll get there...eventually.

So Big Love to my Bezza, Patch!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

stylist trend on trial, trialled: green eyeshadow

This isn't the first time I've given green eye shadow ago.  The first time was many years ago, after buying my first ever Urban Decay palette, and feeling determined to make sure I used ALL the colours.  I choose the green for a night out with the girls.  This night also happened to be the first time I met the boy, unsurprisingly, neither of us were particularly impressed with the other.  Teamed with the green eyeshadow, I was sporting a bad hair do, and a not so flattering outfit.  The boy was going through his hair straighteners phase, and was wearing an interesting brown shirt and brown tank top combo!

Needless to say, I haven't worn that eyeshadow since (and most of the other bright shades still sat untouched), however, luckily the boy and I met each other again at a later date, and managed to forgive our previous fashion faux pas.

However, all in the name of blogging, here I am giving green eye shadow another go.  I didn't have high expectations for this look.  My past experience plus mixed opinions from the Stylist ladies meant I was sure second time around wouldn't be much better.

Rooting through my drawers I found that original Urban Decay eye shadow and set to.  It was exactly as I'd  Very, very green.  And bright, oh so bright.  It was quickly becoming evident I wasn't going to be a fan.
The shade wasn't quite right, and despite opting for a subtler application than seen on the Armani catwalks and still I felt overly aware of my bold look.  However, not to be defeated I did head into town to do some shopping with the green in tow.  The shopping trip was unsuccessful, and I spent the whole day convinced the shop assistants were judging me for my bad make up choices.  It might have been paranoia, but more likely, green at 3o'clock in the afternoon is never going to be a winner!

But, and yes there is a but, later in the day, I toned it down with a dusky brown shade.  And this I LOVED.  It made for a subtle smokey eye, which I like so much, I've worn again today.

So it's not all thumbs down for the green, but I'll be avoiding the bright green of yonder years. 

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