Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nail Art

For Christmas I recieved a great kit for my nails which i'll be sharing with you soon, for now i'll share a few of the designs which i've done this week including Christmas, Pacman and the latest one's for new years eve.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

So christmas day has finally arrived and this is just a quick message to wish everyone a very merry christmas. I hope the day is filled with lots of love and laughter, great food, great times and great company.

Merry Christmas All.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Crafts

Over the past year with not being too well, at times when i've felt OK i've needed to keep myself busy with things that I can enjoy but without causing any more pain or discomfort. Crafts have always been a love of mine but even more so over the past couple of years, and although I'm not a master of any of them, the pure fact of making something myself not only lets out my creative side but it also really chills me out and helps me to relax, who cares if it's not perfect?

With Christmas coming up I decided to make some homemade decorations. The first ones i've made were done with a little help from Hobbycraft. Hobbycraft is like my haven, I could spend hours in that shop, and if my purse would allow it i'd buy the lot! I bought some unfinished wooden shapes to decorate myself. These come in a variety of different christmas themed shapes as well as non christmas shapes.

These don't work out very expensive to make and are much cheaper than buying decorations from a shop. Making them yourself is not just rewarding but it creates a lovely homespun feel to your decorated home. You could even make them for a friend or a relative, I made my sister a few for her new home but I decorated them to match her decor colour scheme.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Handmade Baby Blanket

Just a quick message to share with you this beautiful baby blanket. Knitted with love by my lovely nan. Recently finished and available to buy. The perfect handmade present for someone who is expecting a baby boy. This blue/white blanket can be bought from ebay by using the link below. These can also be made with pink chequered squares or all white with rose embellishments. If you are interested in a blanket but would like to request a different colour then email me at and i'll see what I can do. Please note that as they are made to order it will take a few weeks to be sent to you.

Click here to be directed to my ebay page


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

So Christmas is only a couple of weeks away and in our house the decorations have been up since late November. We don't really do any outdoor decorations but inside we love to fill the house with beautiful things which make you feel all festive and put you in the mood for Christmas. With the tree being the main event, I love to spend time making it look nice, with some festive tunes on in the background.
Our tree is quite a traditional themed tree, just a classic green tree with decorations mainly in red/gold/green. Some of the modern white trees can look fabulous in-store but I don't think they'll suit our decorations. Rather than just filling the tree with decorations that mean nothing we like to buy all different ones to make our tree stand out and be unique to us.We usually buy 2-3 new special ones a year. We still have one on the tree which was bought for me on my first Christmas, 20 years ago!
I think that a Christmas tree needs to be full of decorations, a sparsely decorated tree isn't quite as interesting. So once I've put on the lights and all of the main decorations in place, I like to fill the rest of the tree with just normal baubles. I got some new ones this year from Asda and Sainsbury's, they didn't cost very much but finished the tree off perfectly.

What's your decoration theme? Classic or modern? 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Table Top Cookware

Last week whilst at one of my favourite restaurants I had my first experience of "Steak on a stone" , If you haven't tried it, you must. I was blown away by it, it not only allows you to cook your food to your exact liking but it also adds more theatre and excitement to a meal. Every one of us tried the "steak on a stone" and we were all equally impressed with our meals.

I immediately knew what I could get my Dad for Christmas, he's ridiculously difficult to buy for and with his birthday being on Christmas Eve it makes it even harder having to buy double the amount of gifts. He loves to cook and I thought these would be a perfect present. It's a bit different, and it's something which all of the family can enjoy and experiment with.

I rate a company very highly if they are good with customers and I was very pleased with the service I received from Table Top Cookware. I often find that with many companies your email can take a good few days to be replied to, that's if you even get a reply. When I contacted Table Top Cookware with a query I was impressed when I got my reply 20 minutes later, and that was after midnight... I wasn't expecting the reply so soon.

So I ordered 2 of the Hot Stone Grills which cost £28.99 each. As with all new things you want to get them out of the box and use them straight away but being a gift for the parents, it'll just have to wait for Christmas eve! It makes for such a unique gift idea or even a great investment for a more enjoyable and interactive meal. I'll be sure to update you once Dad has used it!


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Calm One, Calm All

The freezing winter nights have set in and with the stresses of day to day life sometimes you need to just take a bit of time for yourself and just relax. One way I love to relax is by having a lovely hot bubble bath.  I like to use a variety of different lotions and potions in the bath, a nice bubble bath, some bath salts, and a few fizzies always do the trick. Along with some scented candles and a fragrance oil burner, it creates a relaxing, calming atmosphere.

Knowing I have a love for baths and Soap and Glory products, My mum recently bought me the Calm One, Calm All bubble bath. All I can say is WOW, it's simply heavenly. It smells fantastic, and whilst your lying in the beautifully scented water, bathing amongst the soft and fluffy bubbles it leaves you feeling calm and relaxed with silky smooth skin. It's a perfect product for some indulgent yet affordable pampering.You can buy it from the Soap and Glory range in Boots for £5.50 for a 500ml bottle.

Everyone needs to take the time to pamper themselves, why not take yours and enjoy a Calm One, Calm All bath?

Monday, December 03, 2012

All Wrapped Up

So December is finally here and for the first time ever i'm completely organised for Christmas weeks in advance. Early in November I was starting to think I was a little crazy organising things so early, but now that all my gifts are bought and wrapped I can just sit back, relax and not worry about the stressful last minute shopping which I would usually be running around doing.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year and when it comes to wrapping gifts I love to take my time making them look pretty, with some Christmas music on in the background and a glass of wine. I usually go for a classic wrapping theme with red/silver/gold being the main colours. However this year I decided to go for something a little different, a frosty winter's night theme that is coloured with deep blue, white and silver is what I eventually decided on. All of my gift wrap is from Sainsbury's, I think it's important to get wrapping paper that isn't too cheap as they often too thin and are prone to tearing. You don't have to spend a fortune, you can get great quality wrapping that is still affordable. All of my gift wrap cost under £10. Many of the wrapping papers in sainsbury's are also included within a 3 for 2 offer. 

What is your christmas wrapping theme this year? Classic or modern?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cake Pops

Today I thought I would share my first attempt at making cake pops. One night when I was having trouble sleeping, I was in the mood to bake so I thought i'd give cake pops a go. After looking at a few recipes on the internet for some guidance I took the essentials and adapted them to what I had in the cupboard/ what I fancied making. I decided on all chocolate pops, that meant chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, chocolate coating and chocolate sprinkles. If your not a fan of chocolate you will not like these.

To start I made my basic chocolate cake which I use in most of my chocolate cake recipes. For this I creamed together 200g of butter and 200g of caster sugar. You need 2 eggs and 200g of self raising flour. Alternate between adding small amounts of the beaten eggs and self raising flour at a time. Add a little vanilla extract, a dash of milk and 3 heaped tbsp of cocoa powder. Mix togethe and spread into your cake tin. Cook at 180 on a fan assisted oven for about 30 minutes or until springy to touch. It doesn't matter what tin you bake it in as once it's cooked it will all be crumbled up.

Whilst the cake is cooking you can make the buttercream so that it has time to chill for a while in the fridge. Mix butter and icing sugar together along with some cocoa powder. Mix until you have a smooth and creamy buttercream. Once the cake is cooked and had time to cool, crumble it all up until it almost resembles breadcrumbs. If you don't want the crispier edges of the cake in the mix then cut them off before.

Making sure not to add too much, add a spoonful of the buttercream to the cake crumbs at a time. You don't want the mixture to be moist as the cake will probably quite moist already. You still want the texture to be a little crumbly but with the ability to hold it's shape.

Shape the mixture into rolled balls, if they are not holding their shape then you will need to add a little more buttercream to the mixture. Once all of the cake balls are ready, allow them to chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Melt your chocolate and dip your sticks about 1cm into it, then insert the sticks into the cake balls about half way through. Now you are ready to dip the cake balls in the chocolate. Make sure that the bowl with the melted chocolate is deep enough to completely coat the cake ball. You could use proper lollipop sticks but I didn't have any of those so I used halved kebab sticks instead, they worked just as well.

Whilst the chocolate is still wet you can decorate the cake pops with any sprinkles you like. I chose white chocolate stars and some chocolate crunchy balls. Once decorated, pop them in the fridge to let them set. You could spend a long time making them perfect and identical but I took more of a random approach by literally sprinkling the decorations on. My chocolate cake pops are far from perfect but they are rather yummy!

If you don't fancy the cake pops, why not try my Ultimate Chocolate Cake which I posted about a few months ago. Or do you have a better recipe for cake pops which I could try?


Friday, November 23, 2012

Canderel Green


As I have mentioned several times before I’m a big lover of tea and coffee but I have to add a little sweetness to it. For many years I’ve used Canderel tablets rather than sugar. Each tablet contains the equivalent sweetness of one teaspoon of sugar. The great thing about them is that they are calorie free, so for each teaspoon of sugar that you swap for a tablet you are saving yourself 20 calories. I’ve worked out that as I have around 3 tea or coffees a day, at 60 calories a day for sugar soon adds up. Over a week by using Canderel I’ve saved myself 420 calories.

A couple of month’s back I noticed the Canderel Green variety that is made with the sweet extracts of the Stevia Plant. The main difference between normal Canderel and the green variety is its ingredients. Whilst the normal ones are made with artificial sweeteners the green tablets are made with natural ingredients from the Stevia leaf. One thing that I really noticed the difference in was the taste. Just like Canderel it takes some getting used to but after a while I couldn’t really tell the difference. I now love my tea with Canderel Green, and knowing that it is made from natural extracts rather than artificial sweeteners makes it even better.

Canderel Green is also available in granule form which means you could sprinkle it over cereal or fruit rather than sugar, the granules contain 2 calories per teaspoon which is still a lot lower than sugar. Give it a go, but give it a chance.. I wasn't keen on it at first but I now use the tablets every day!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ideal Home Show at Christmas

A few weeks back I recieved my daily email from groupon which I usually just delete without even reading. However after 100's of emails an offer finally caught my eye. 'Ideal Home Show at Christmas', I simply had to get it. The show ran from 14th-18th November at Earls Court, London. This year I visited the Ideal Home Show for the first time back in March and had a really great day. So the thought of the show mixed with the festive theme makes me very happy, I absolutely love Christmas!
If you buy your tickets from the website then you pay less than if you were to pay on the door. If I hadn't of got the offer from groupon then for my weekday ticket it would have cost £12/16.50. With the fantastic savings from groupon I saved 61%, for two tickets it only cost £12.50 and that included show guides and goody bags.

The show hosts over 600 exhibitors from various different fields including, home, fashion, technology and fashion. They also have 'Celebrity Ambassadors' who make appearances and do some demonstrations. These include the likes of Myleene Klass, Gino D'Acampo and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.  There was also a pop-up ice rink this year which is in partnership with ITV's Dancing on Ice, if you wanted a skating session you could pay extra for that. I gave the skating a miss, as my bad leg wouldn't allow it and I cannot skate to save my life. You wouldn't have seen me gliding across the ice like those on Dancing on Ice, I can assure you of that.

After hours off looking around the stalls we decided it was time for a break, we went for a lovely meal in Pizza Express which was a lot quieter and more relaxed than just buying food from a counter. There was also the Gregg Wallace Winter Restaurant, in which you can try a 3 course tasting menu.
We all bought some lovely items from the show, some great Christmas gifts too. The tickets were an absolute bargain and we had a really fab day out. It really gets you in the festive spirit, I can't wait to return next year!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Root Vegetable Soup

I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while now. It's a hearty soup that's full of flavour and is the perfect dish to warm you up on those chilly winter evenings.
1 Tbsp of oil
1 Large white onion diced
4-5 Parsnips peeled and diced
4-5 Carrots peeled and diced
2 Sweet Potatoes peeled and diced
2 Vegetable stock cubes made with 1 pint of water
Salt & Pepper to taste

It's so simple to make, cook the vegetables in the oil until they have slightly softened. Then add the stock and simmer on a low-medium heat for about 45 minutes. Blend until all of the chunks have gone. Depending on how you like the consistency of your soup, you can adjust it to your preferences. If you like your soup to be thinner,  simply add more water or if you like it thicker then don't put as much in.

For extra flavour and a bit of a bite I cut some bacon into little bits and lightly fried until nice and crispy. As this recipe makes quite a sweet soup I find that the bacon really balances the flavours and adds a great salty kick. I sprinkled the bacon bits on top of the soup, sliced some crusty bread and was ready to tuck in.

Enjoy x

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dirty Works Foot Scrub & Butter

For the past few weeks i've been using a foot scrub and a foot butter from the Dirty Works range which is available at Sainsbury's. My feet are constantly plagued with rough skin and cracked heels so I have to make sure to take care of them to keep them nicely smooth and soft. I decided to take a dual approach in the hope for gorgeous feet by using two different products from Dirty Works. The first of the two is the Sole Sister Foot Scrub, I use this whilst in the bath by massaging it onto my feet, focusing on the heels and balls of my feet. I also use a pumice stone to help get rid of any rough skin.

Once out of the bath and my feet are dried I use the Best Foot Forward Foot Butter and allow its to fully sink into the skin. If I am doing my feet just before bed then i'll make sure to apply even more of the butter and pop some socks on so that the butter has a chance to really sink in to the skin and work it's magic overnight. By the morning my feet are noticeably softer. It just shows how taking a little time to look after your feet by using two simple products can make a real difference. I now try to use these products 2-3 times a week to maintain smoother and softer feet.
The foot scrub is really lovely and has a nice fresh minty scent. The mint helps to cool, soothe and revive tired and aching feet whilst at the same time the scrub smoothes the skin. The foot butter contains one of my favourite ingredients, Shea butter. The gorgeous scent of the butter alongside it's moisturising qualities allow for super soft feet and a salon worthy pedicure at home for a fraction of the price. 
Best Foot Forward Foot Butter £2.99
Sole Sister Foot Scrub £2.99
You can also order them online from Sainsburys and get it delivered straight to your door with your groceries.
I'm becoming a really big fan of the Dirty Works range, they provide top beauty products at affordable prices, what girl doesn't want to be pampered?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nivea Express Hydration Primer

 Last week I bought the December issue of Cosmopolitan magazine and within there were a few different samples of products including the new DKNY Be Delicious Intense , Rimmel's new Match Perfection Foundation and the one that appealed to me the most which is the Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer.

With some samples I'll often just put them in a drawer and not use them for ages, or maybe not at all. However I've had my eye on this primer for a while but haven't got round to buying it, so when I got the sample in the magazine I had to test it out straight away. I was so impressed with it that I had to go out and buy it the very same day!

Nivea Daily Essentials Express Hydration Primer has been designed to moisturise whilst perfectly priming the skin for make up application. You can choose the right primer depending on your skin type as it is available for both normal/combination and dry/sensitive skin.

I've only been using the product for a few days but I've already noticed how much of a difference it makes, it makes my skin feel fresh and hydrated all day long. After my usual morning skin care routine and after cleansing my face I apply the primer. It's a lovely light and smooth texture which immediately absorbs into the skin so you don't have to wait around, it allows you to apply your make up straight away. The primer not only creates a smooth base for make up but it also helps to keep it in place and looking radiant for longer.

Today I didn't wear any make up but I decided to still use the primer on it's own. The scent is light, fresh and cooling.  I love how this product has multiple uses, whilst being a primer it can also be used as a moisturiser. Even after such a short time it's quickly becoming one of my favourite products and a new essential part of my daily skin care routine. It's a great value product too, at under £5 it's an inexpensive essential to complete your make up bag!


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

It's been quite a while since I've done a movie related post but I thought I'd let you know about a movie I watched earlier this evening. It's called 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.' and it's currently available to watch on Sky movies and On-demand. The film features an all-star cast including Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon.

The story is based on Cal (Carell) who's wife Emily (Moore) cheats on him and wants a divorce. As his life begins to unravel the gorgeous Jacob (Gosling) takes Cal under his wing and gives him a complete makeover and a different way of living life whilst playing the dating game. However there is just one thing that Jacob cannot change, and that's the love that Cal has for his wife. The film also follows Cal's son who has his own mission of love, as well as the ultimate player Jacob who moves from one woman to another.

Alongside the great heartfelt storyline there is a constant stream of humour throughout the movie. With some very funny moments this romantic comedy really is the whole package, the story of life and love. Also if your not a fan of these types of movies then you could simply watch it for the sheer enjoyment of Ryan Gosling, he's rather handsome in this movie.

I'll definitely be adding this movie to my DVD collection, it's a movie I could watch over and over again. A modern classic that I don't think has been recognised for the movie it is.


Monday, November 05, 2012

Tesco - My Senses

Today I'm writing about a range of shampoos and conditioners from Tesco. They are called 'My Senses'. I doesn't take a genius to notice that they are clearly copying the popular Herbal Essences products, the design, bottle shape and fruity scents are far from original.

I absolutely love the scents of Herbal Essences and up until a few years ago I would regularly use a variety of their shampoos and conditioners. However one day my hair suddenly wouldn't agree with them, making my scalp itchy and sore. I decided to try out these ones from Tesco in the hope that they would be similar to the Herbal Essences range but without the irritation to my scalp.

There are four different ranges to choose from, Colour Sanctuary, Miracle Moisture, Celestial Shine and Heavenly Body. Rather than getting both the shampoo and conditioner from the same range I chose the Miracle Moisture shampoo along with the Celestial Shine Conditioner. One great thing about these products is their price, they cost £1.65 for a 400ml bottle which is quite a bargain at over half of the price of Herbal Essences.

I was glad to find that they didn't cause any irritation on my scalp and it left my hair feeling smooth and well moisturised. However my own senses aren't reacting too well to this new line, personally I found that the scents of both the shampoo and conditioner were far too overpowering. I do like fruity scented products but I just found these to be a little too strong and almost sickly smelling.

If you're looking for a decent shampoo/conditioner on a budget or if you're keen on a strong fruity scent then I'd give it a go. But just a little tip to make sure you don't make the mistake I did, have a smell of them before you buy. I'm sure a lot of people will love these but I just couldn't get on with them.


Have you tried any of the Tesco 'My Senses' range, if so what did you think of them?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Special K Cracker Crisps

I am a savoury food lover, if I had to choose between a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar, the crisps would win everytime. Being somewhat of a picker, I'm always on the look out for different savoury snacks which I can enjoy without worrying about piling on any more weight. I usually look for snacks which are under 100 calories. I was pleased when I found the new Kellogg's Special K Cracker Crisps as they were under the calorie range I was looking for.  The crisps come in three different flavours, sweet chilli, sea salt & balsamic vinegar and sour cream & onion. Each 23g serving is equivalent to 21 crisps, both the sea salt & balsamic vinegar and the sour cream & onion are 95 calories for a 23g serving whilst the sweet chilli is one lower on 94 calories.
I like the sound of all three flavours but I decided to try the sweet chilli first. I love sweet chilli flavoured products as they aren't too hot with only a slight kick but plenty of flavour. The sweet chilli cracker crisps were tasty but very moreish...I just kept eating one after the other. I now make sure to put the 21 in a bowl and leave the rest in the kitchen so that I only eat the portion!

I'm looking forward to trying out both of the other flavours, especially the sea salt and balsamic vinegar.

Do you know any yummy and slightly healthy savoury snacks that I could try?x

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Radox Berry Burst


Today I thought I would tell you about the latest shower creams from Radox. There are three different scents available, these are Berry, Cherry and Coconut. I decided to try the Berry Burst, the first time I used it I wasn't too sure whether I liked it or not as it has quite an intense and strong fruity smell. It took some getting used to but it's growing on me and I'm really starting to like it. The texture is thicker than a shower gel and the milk within makes for a creamier consistency. Even with the smooth and soft cream it foams into a nice soapy lather. The thing I liked about this shower cream is that unlike many others, this one leaves my skin with a slight fruity scent for several hours after showering. I got mine on the introductory offer in Sainsbury's for 95p.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lizi's Granola

Today I thought I would tell you about a granola that I've been trying recently. With breakfasts I go through different phases of particular foods, I then find myself bored of them after a few weeks of eating the same thing every day. I go from porridge to toast to a variety of cereals. Being bored with the usual ones, I went to the supermarket on the look out for a new breakfast cereal to try. I knew I wanted to try some sort of granola or muesli. If I'm away on holiday then I often have that but I've never bought a granola to have at home.

I decided on this one from Lizi's with passionfruit and pistachio. I chose this one particularly because of the passionfruit, I'm a lover of all tropical fruits and especially passionfruit. As I was expecting it to have quite a strong fruity flavour, I was disappointed when it didn't! Every now and then I got a hint of the passionfruit but not very much. On a positive note, the nuttiness of the pistachios is lovely. The pieces of pistachio add a lovely crunch and a lot of flavour to the mix. I like mine with really cold skimmed milk and sometimes a few added berries. On the packaging it states that it is perfectly measured for slow energy release and I'd definitely agree with this as after eating it I was full and satisfied until lunchtime.

I would buy this granola again, but I would probably buy some passionfruits as well so that I could add some more. Even though in my opinion there isn't enough passionfruit flavour coming through, I would imagine for most people it would be enough. It's simply because I love passionfruit that I wanted it to be a stronger and less subtle flavour. 


Monday, October 29, 2012

TRESemmé Heat Defence

Up until a couple of years a go I would straighten my hair almost every day, but after the years of straightening I've found that my hair has become almost straight on it's own without the need for straighteners. Since I've frequently stopped using heated styling tools I've found that my hair is in so much better condition. I have less split ends, it retains it's natural shine and is much healthier looking.

I still use straighteners every now and then but no where near as much as I used to. However now whenever I use heat products like straighteners or curling tongs I always make sure to use a heat defence spray of some sort to help protect my hair.

I also use the spray every time I use the hairdryer which is almost everyday. Onto partly towel dried hair I generously spritz the defence spray and then continue to dry and style as normal. This particular Heat Defence Styling Spray from the TRESemmé Protect range is the one which I've been using for a long time. It protects your hair from the heat of styling tools up to the heat of 230 degrees.

The main thing I've noticed from using this product, apart from protecting my hair against the heat is how soft it makes my hair feel. If I use my hair dryer and forget to use the spray then I can notice the difference in the feel of my hair. I've found that it makes my hair shiny and soft.

There are a couple of other different heat protect sprays which I've bought to test out so I'll be sure to let you know what I think of them soon!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Bicester Buys

Earlier in the week I posted about my weekend away in Bicester and I thought I would share with you a few of my purchases that I made.

I bought this lovely scarf from Ted Baker, it's a fairisle print with pink, grey, black and white colours.
it's a cosy knit which will keep my neck warm throughout the winter and with the little prints of reindeers makes it even more fitting in the winter months. The RRP of this scarf was £55 but the outlet price was £30 and with the 10% off I got it for £27. I've never spent so much on a scarf before, but i'm sure it's a worthy investment! This cosy scarf has already been used several times this week as the weather has been rather chilly!
My favourite shop from the village was Cath Kidston. I'm a lover of their products and prints. If I had the money I could have spent hours in the shop buying loads of things. In the end I decided on a bag which i'll be using to transport a few of my crafty bits about. The bag is green with a pink based floral print. The RRP of the bag was £25 but I got it for £14.40.

I done a little bit of christmas shopping whilst I was there too, I went into Links of London to get a couple of charms as gifts for people. I was happy to find they had some really fantastic discounts. The charms I got are normally around £30 each but I got one for £15 and one for £20!

If you like your higher end branded shops yet don't quite have the money to pay full price then I would recommend making your way there for some great discounts. Even when it was busy, there was a very relaxed and spacious feel around the whole outlet village. It'll make a great day out looking round the boutiques, buying some christmas gifts or treating yourself!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weekend in Bicester

This weekend my dad took us all away for the night to a lovely hotel and for a shopping trip in Bicester Village. With all of the stresses that are going on with me at the moment, the endless hospital appointments, the constant pain and the lack of sleep are not helping! I'm not up to a long break away and not being able to fly at the moment is also annoying. So I said that just one night would be perfect, just to clear my head, spend some time with the family,relax, chill and hit the shops whilst hopefully not in too much pain.
We stayed in the Bicester Hotel, Golf and Spa which is in Chesterton, Bicester, Oxfordshire. It's situated in the countryside but with easy access to the M40. There is a local pub a few minutes away from the hotel but the closest shop is in the Bicester town centre. The hotel itself was beautiful, with friendly staff and a lovely room which overlooked the golf course. The beds were so comfy!

In the afternoon we went down to the Spa which had a swimming pool, hydro spa, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. We didn't book any but you can book up to have a range of spa treatments. In the evening we went into the sports bar for a few drinks and then off to the restaurant within the hotel for dinner. Both the service and food were very good.

So on Sunday morning after a yummy breakfast we checked out and made our way to Bicester Village which is only a short drive away. Bicester village is an outlet centre which has over 130 boutiques from top names such as Jimmy Choo, Cath Kidston, Versace and Vivienne Westwood. The best thing about it is that you get the outlet prices and can save up to 60% off of the RRP. From staying at the hotel we were also given a booklet which enabled us to get 10% off in most of the shops within the village which was nice added bonus.

I had never been to Bicester Village before but had been recommended to go there by some friends. When we first arrived I was a little put back as all of the top shop names are out of most peoples price ranges including my own, however after going into the shops I found that because of the outlet prices you can find some fantastic deals and discounts. We did have a really lovely day there and would love to go back again.

If you are planning on going there I would recommend getting there early. We got there about half an hour before most of the shops opened and got parked right near the shops without any trouble. However by about 11am it did become very busy within the village. As we was leaving the car park at around 2pm there was a very long queue to get to the car parks, the queue of cars was about a mile long. So unless you want to be queueing for quite a while just to get parked I'd recommend getting there earlier.

I'll be doing a post about my purchases from the village very soon!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Hairy Dieters

For months I had been hearing great things about this book by The Hairy Bikers, Dave Myers and Si King. The book is called The Hairy Dieters and it's them showing you 'how to love food and lose weight'. It is tied in with their series which was aired on BBC2. I'm ashamed to say that I wasn't even aware that it was on TV, if I had of known it would have definitely been series linked on Sky. 
They have lost nearly six stone between themselves and are now sharing some recipes which are good for you but still tasty and satisfying. The book was released a few months ago but I only managed to get it a few weeks back as it was sold out everywhere! It's such a popular book that it even knocked '50 shades of grey' off the top of the charts. Who would have thought that the hairy duo Dave and Si would knock Christian Grey off the top spot!

I am yet to try out any of the recipes yet but I cannot wait to get in the kitchen to try out some of the yummy looking recipes. There are so many to choose from that I'm struggling to make a decision on which one to try first! A few recipes which have really caught my eye are the Spanish Style Chicken Bake, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Skinny Lemon Cupcakes! They all look so yummy.
I've bought many cookery books over the years and this is definitely the best I've purchased. With most cookery books I like the look of a few of the recipes within. However with The Hairy Dieters book I could say that I like the look of probably about 90% of the recipes, the other 10% of recipes I don't like the look of are simply through personal taste as I can be picky with fish dishes or particular spices. On top of the amazing looking recipes there are some great dieting tips within.
Why not try this book out for yourself? Try some of the of healthier recipes without compromising on flavour!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Righteous Butter

I have mentioned in a few posts now about The Righteous Butter from Soap & Glory but I have never done a post about it. I use many different body butters and lotions which I do really love and continue to use but The Righteous Butter has easily become my favourite body butter of all time for a few simple reasons. Firstly the scent, their Original Pink fragrance which is simply heavenly! Secondly the texture, it's quite a thick butter which absorbs into the skin really well. Last but certainly not least is what it does to your skin, this thick butter nourishes, hydrates and smooths your skin. I often find that I can get dry and rough skin on my elbows, however since I've been regularly using this body butter it has completely taken that away. My elbows and the rest of my skin are now velvety smooth, all thanks to this gorgeous body butter!

It's available to buy from Boots in-store as well as online, the 300ml tub costs £10.50 and is usually available to buy within their 3 for 2 offer. You can also get a 50ml travel sized pot which costs £2.50 and is perfect to pop in your handbag or to take on holiday.

This body butter leaves your skin feeling good, and smelling gorgeous, I could rave on about it for hours! Once I've finished all my travel size tubs which I've got from gift sets I'll be buying the larger tub again. In boots there is even a limited edition 1 litre giant sized tub, it's £25 but for such a huge tub of this heavenly cream it's quite a bargain, and it will last you ages!

If you're looking for a new body butter to try, why not give this one a go? I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Macmillan Fundraiser

It's been a few weeks since I hosted my fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Support so I thought it would be great to share a little about the evening and to let everyone know how much we raised.

The reason why we decided to arrange a fundraiser was ultimately in memory of my uncle Bob who died 19 years ago from cancer. He died just before my first birthday so I never had the chance to get to know him. With all the stories i've been told about him and the videos i've seen of him I feel proud to call him my uncle yet sad as he was taken way too early by such a horrible disease. My mum told me that throughout his illness he recieved so much support and care from the Macmillan nurses.

Uncle Bob
A few months back after seeing some advertisements from Macmillan about their 'World's biggest coffee morning ' I thought it would be a great idea to hold a coffee morning of my own to raise a bit of money in support of Macmillan so I sent off for the fundraising pack and the planning began.
Even after 19 years, it's never too late and we wanted to do our bit to give thanks for the wonderful work that Macmillan Cancer Support do. Everyone knows someone that has been affected by cancer in one way or another and in hosting a fundraiser it enabled us to get together to celebrate the lives of those we've lost, to remember them as well as raise money so that the support that Macmillan provide can continue.

 My mum and I decided that because we were hosting it at our house that it would be best to make it an invitation only event. We then realised that most of the people we wanted to invite work during the day so it would be difficult to pull off a coffee morning, so for that reason we changed it from coffee morning to a wine evening. We didn't want it too crammed so we sent out invites to about 35 knowing that a few may not be able to make it. We only invited girls as we just wanted a chilled out evening, with some wine, nibbles, chatting, a bit of music and a girly raffle which was full of wines, candles, beauty sets, chocolates, vouchers and champagne which were all kindly bought and donated by my mum. Some friends kindly donated a few bits and my nan knitted a gorgeous baby blanket too.

As well as the raffle we also had a little game on the go which you usually see at school fetes and fairs... "Guess how many sweets are in the jar", everyone paid for a guess and the closest guess without going over won a voucher and a bottle of prosecco.

All of the money we made from the night has been given to Macmillan and we didn't take anything for the drink, food or raffle that we provided, every single penny that we received went straight into the donation box. We were so pleased with the turn out and with how much people were willing to kindly donate, my mum and I are already looking forward to doing it again next year. We are so thankful to everyone who came to the evening to help us raise as much as we could as well as to the people who didn't come yet still gave us a donation.

Altogether I had hoped to raise about £200. I was amazed at how much we actually raised,
on the actual evening we raised an incredible £406 but with two generous donations from my dad and his friends companies we managed to raise an amazing £606! Thats over three times as much as I had hoped to raise. Even though it may only be a little amount compared to what they need, but with the amount of coffee mornings and fundraisers that are held, every penny that is donated helps Macmillan to carry on providing their much needed cancer support to those in need.

So that's it.. until next year!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dirty Works Body Butter

Even though I have lots of unused or half empty bottles of moisturisers and body butters lying around I couldn't stop myself from buying just one more to add to my collection. It's on offer at the moment.. so I had to buy it! The product is Supreme Cream Body Butter by Dirty Works which is available to buy in Sainsbury's. It's a light butter which sinks into the skin well, the only slight negative that it did make my hands feel a little greasy but after a few minutes of allowing the butter to absorb into my skin the greasiness went away. It left my skin feeling smooth and soft with a light sweet scent.

I think I like this body butter so much because it reminds me of The Righteous Butter by Soap & Glory which is my favourite of all time. Both of these body butters have similar scents but I would say the Righteous Butter has more of a powerful scent as well as a thicker butter texture. Within the supreme cream is one of my favourite product ingredients...Shea butter, along with some sweet almond oil it makes for a great product which not only hydrates the skin but leaves it moisturised and feeling soft and smooth.

There is 50% off on a lot of their products at the moment, so get down to Sainsbury's whilst the great offers are on! This body butter usually costs £4.99 but with the 50% off it only cost £2.49. For a 300ml tub of a gorgeous body butter, it's great value for money, even at it's normal price of £4.99 it's a body butter I would buy again.

Why not treat a friend to some gorgeous products from the range for Christmas?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lindt Excellence

Over the weekend I decided to treat myself to a bit of chocolate. I bought 3 different ones, all from the Lindt Excellence range. The first I tried was the Orange Intense - Dark, I have never been a lover of dark chocolate but I love orange flavoured chocolate so I thought I would give this one a go. Personally I found the chocolate to be too bitter for my taste but the orange pieces within were lovely and gave it a lovely flavour.  However my mum who is a lover of dark chocolate has happily eaten the rest of that one. The second one I tried was Milk with A Touch of Sea Salt, for me this was the perfect combination of savoury and sweet which I love. It's a smooth milk chocolate that is speckled with sea salt crystals. I could see how some people wouldn't like it but anyone who loves the mix of savoury and sweet then I think it would be ideal for them. The third one I tried was the white chocolate Strawberry Intense, this was my favourite out of the three. It's a creamy white chocolate that is filled with tasty strawberry pieces, it tastes like a strawberry cheesecake in a chocolate bar, it's heavenly!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Krisprolls Canapés

For the Macmillan charity evening that I hosted I decided to put out a little spread with some tasty little nibbles that everyone could enjoy. Along with the usual picky bits I decided to make some of my own. I expected them to be eaten but I didn't expect them to go down quite as well as they did. I even had to make some more half way through the evening as they went down so well. They are so simple and easy to make, yet they are so tasty.  
I bought some of these wholegrain Krisprolls, I had never tried them before but had always heard good things about them. I decided on a simple topping of cheese, tomato and basil with the option of some pesto. I simply sliced mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes and added a fresh basil leaf. I put a little pot of pesto on the platter with them, It just added a complete other level to them, a little drizzle was all you needed for it to become a delicious canapé .
The great thing about Krisprolls is that you could have them with anything, for a sweet tooth you could spread your favourite jam on them or if you prefer savoury things you could dunk them in your soup, the possibilities are endless. You can get them from most supermarkets and they cost around £1.


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Christmas Fragrance Oils

I love Christmas, I always have and I always will. So as it gets to this time of the year and the shops are starting to bring out their Christmas ranges, it's safe to say that I am getting very excited! The other week I posted about the oil burner and fragrance oils, since then I have been out shopping in Sainsbury's and noticed their new Christmas scented candles, oils and decorative section. I bought two new fragrance oils, the first is Christmas Spice, its full of the recognisable Christmas scents such as cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. The second is Snowflakes, this reminds me of crisp winter mornings, it's has a fresh, soft and heavenly scent. In the range they also have a Christmas Tree one and Frankincense & Myrrh. They cost £2.50 and are perfect to fill your home with a warm, Christmasy scent.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Marmite Cheddar

This cheese is made by Ilchester British Cheeses, they make a range of speciality British cheeses in a variety of different flavours. Whilst in your local supermarket you've probably seen the other cheeses that they produce, Mexicana, Applewood and White Stilton with Apricots and many others are all made by Ilchester Cheeses.

I am a big lover of Marmite, and I have always found that Marmite is the perfect accompaniment to a slice of cheddar. Ever since I was little I have always loved a nice piece of crusty toast with a spread of butter and nice bit of Marmite and topped with a few slices of yummy cheddar cheese. When I discovered this Marmite flavoured cheddar cheese I immediately had to buy it.

Before I even tasted it I had high expectations as I thought nothing would come up to scratch with my much loved cheese and Marmite on toast. Well it's safe to say that this Marmite Cheddar has exceeded my expectations. It cleverly combines two of my favourite tastes, a nice mature cheddar and Marmite. It's tangy and unlike any cheese I've had before. I think that even if you don't like Marmite then you may still like this cheese, don't knock it until you've tried it!

Perfect in a sandwich, on crackers, or even grilled on some bread from some tasty cheese on toast! In the week I even grated some and sprinkled it onto my spaghetti bolognese, that may sound odd but it was gorgeous and it added a complete new taste to an already yummy meal.

Give it a go!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Yummy Roasted Vegetables

This is just a simple recipe idea to make vegetables a little more interesting and tasty. They make a great accompaniment to a meal or could even be enjoyed as a meal on their own. You could use whatever vegetables you like,  I used peppers, onions, mushrooms, courgettes and new potatoes. After chopping all of the vegetables and part boiling the potatoes put them all into a roasting tin. To the vegetables add a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic, 2-3 heaped teaspoons of smoked paprika, a sprinkling of dried Italian herbs and some salt & pepper. Give the vegetables a quick toss so that the seasoning is spread about evenly. I cooked it in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes. They were delicious!