Wednesday, 26 February 2014

10 things I want to do

Got the real Polaroid innit.

This blog post is inspired by Tanya Burr's recent blog post. After reading it I thought it is actually incredibly healthy to have solid goals that you want to achieve in your life, even if they are only short term goals. It gives you a sense of purpose and motivates you to do the boring but necessary things in your life. It also helps you to look to the future rather to than the past. 

So here are the 10 things I want to do this year.

1. Go to Australia
I am saving up for this at the moment and want to go by the end of the year. I went to New Zealand in 2011 and it was absolutely stunning and I felt so proud of myself for travelling that far from home. I am grateful to my parents for always telling to me say 'yes' to things. However it is sometimes hard to justify saving such a huge amount of money when I could be saving for more sensible things like a deposit for a flat.

2. Dress better
I am hoping to go clothes shopping this weekend for the first time in forever. I did 3 days overtime at work and am hoping to spend all that extra pay on lots of clothes. I have so many clothes that are just completely worn out. I am also hoping to take my sister shopping with me as she has great style.

3. Sort my make up out
I keep watching all these beauty bloggers and realised how limited my make up is! I thought wearing foundation, mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner was the standard, but turns out I really need to get some primer, concealer and highlighter... at least!

4. Eat less sugar
This is something I have been doing for a while now. I have had good days and bad days with this. I would say today has been ok(ish), had a couple of small baklava at work and dark chocolate when I got home, but other than that, no sugar. I have switched to having agave nectar on my Weetabix in the morning, instead of honey. I have also made sure to make my lunch for work from scratch, so I know exactly what is in it. This is a goal that I think may take a while to get used to. All I can think about now is mini eggs!

5. Exercise more
I am aiming to be able to run 3 miles, which I think equates to 5 kilometres? At the moment I am running 1 mile every weekend. This has happened 3 weekends in a row now. So fingers crossed I can keep this up!

6. Watch more documentaries
After studying Anthropology at University I became obsessed with documentaries about the world, different cultures, different economies and that type of genre. I recently watched half of Cutie and the Boxer on iPlayer and loved it. The only reason I stopped watching it was because I was unbelievably tired. This gave me my thirst for documentaries back, they are so inspiring and help you to remember how different everyone is and how boring the world would be if we were all the same.

7. Read more books
Since finishing my MA in September last year (part time, whilst working full time) I haven't read a single book! I have two in the pipeline that I need to start. One is Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre and the only is Down Under by Bill Bryson.

8. Earn more money
Don't we all!? I earn enough to live well in any other city except London. Oh, and I live in London. Basically, I want to be able to afford to go the cinema and buy popcorn, ice cream and pick 'n' mix and not feel that it is a huge extravagance!

9. Be more tactful
Sometimes I forget to think exactly how people will understand what I say or write. So basically this goal should really be 'think before you say it!'.

10. Take better photos for my blog
Would you believe I used to be so into photography I was seriously considering a career as a professional photographer?! I had a portfolio, I went for an interview for an MA in Photography at Brighton University and even got paid to take photos! I need to up my game in terms of photography for my blog, I have the skills, I just need to try harder.

Hope you all enjoyed this post and let me know your goals for the short term or, indeed, the long term.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Vegetable stew

This dish serves 4. Alternatively you could eat it for your lunch for 3 days. Either way it's a hearty, healthy dish that is easy to prepare.

You will need:
  • 1 leek
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 medium parsnip
  • 1 large sweet potato or 2 small
  • Quarter of a celeriac or 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 large baking size potato
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive oil
  • 2 flat teaspoon of vegetable stock dissolved in 1 pint of boiling water
  • I tube of tomato purée (100g)
  • An inch of finely grated ginger
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Two handfuls red lentils
  • Half a cup of pearl barley

1. First soak the pearl barley in boiling water ahead of time if possible for 30 minutes. The whole stew should then cook easily in 20–30 mins. Otherwise just cook it for between 40–50 minutes.

2. Peel all vegetables except the potato, chop into roughly one inch pieces.

3. Sauté all vegetables in the olive oil for a couple of minutes until they are glistening with the oil. Be careful to keep turning them over, otherwise they will stick. 

4. Dissolve the tomato purée in the stock with the ginger and add to the vegetables. 

5. Add the washed red lentils and then think about adding some extra water, the vegetables need to be almost covered with liquid but not swimming. 

6. Add black pepper and taste for seasoning. 

7. Bring to the boil gently and turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes, so the vegetables don't break up. 

8. Add the cooked pearl barley. 

9. If it tastes a bit bland add some lemon juice. If needs be add a bit of soya sauce. 

10. You can of course vary the vegetables and seasoning to whatever you like, the ingredient that gives this stew it's character is the pearl barley, it should retain a slight bite and adds a nutty sort of flavour in contrast to the softness of the root vegetables.

Enjoy! Please comment below if you make this stew!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Homeware inspired by art

As you may or may not know, I am an Art History geek. So this week I thought I would browse the online stores of some museums and galleries, and show you the best pieces of homeware they had to offer. There is also a quiz at the end of this post – comment below if you know the answer! In terms of the exhibitions these products relate to I have been to the Paul Klee exhibition and it was fantastic, however it was very crowded. I intend to go and see all these exhibitions, but please be aware some have not even started yet. Let me know if you have been to any of these exhibitions or of any exhibitions you have been to recently that you would recommend. I'd be really interested to know. 
Exhibition to see: Paul Klee, Tate
When? 16th October 2013 to 9th March 2014

When? 27th February to 15th June 2014
When? 17th October 2013 to 23rd March 2014

When? 19th February to 11th May 2014

5. Agate bookends (pair), purple, £30, Natural History Museum
Exhibition to see: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum
When? 18th October 2013 to 23rd March 2014

When? 5th April to 27th July 2014

Whilst looking around the gallery shops online I came across this...

Anyone recognise it from a certain vlogger?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Vanilla and chocolate chip cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
  • 175g margarine
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • handfull of dark chocolate chips

How to
1. Preheat your oven to 170°C and put the cupcake cases into your tin.

2. Add the margarine and caster sugar into a mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth, basically sugary margarine.

3. Add the vanilla essence and whisked eggs. This will look a bit sloppy at this point.

4. Now add the flour and mix until really smooth. Make sure you get as much air in there as possible.

5. Put a spoon full of flour into a separate bowl and add your chocolate chips. Mix them around so that all the chocolate chips are coated in flour. This helps to ensure that they don't all sink to the bottom!

6. Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and stir.

7. Pour the mixture evenly into the cupcake cases.

8. Bake for 15 minutes. Check they are ready by piercing with a skewer and if the skewer comes out clean you know they are done.

9. Place on a cooling rack and eat after about 5 minutes as they are delicious when they are still warm!

I didn't do any icing as I felt it would makes these cupcakes just too sweet.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Liebster Award x2

I have never been nominated for this award before so to be nominated twice within a week or so, is a little overwhelming! Thank you to Lisa at The Sennockian and Megan at Aurora Dust for nominating me.

Lisa's post states you have to post 11 random facts about yourself and answer 11 questions. Rather than do 11 random facts I will answer both Lisa and Megan's questions. You also have to nominate 11 other bloggers to answer 11 questions you have set yourself. This award is for new blogs with under 200 followers. This is quite different to any of my other posts as I don't normally share much about myself on my blog. So here goes, hope you enjoy reading.

11 questions from Lisa:
1. If you are having a blogging lull, how do you inspire and motivate yourself?
  • I have set myself 3 topics to write about each week, which on top of a full-time job, is quite a lot! Fingers crossed, I haven't had a blogging lull yet.

2. Favourite clothes shop?
  • I haven't been clothes shopping in ages as I'm saving to go on holiday, but I do like a bit of Zara and Oasis. 

3. Marmite. Love it or hate it?
  • Love it.

4. Which film or TV star would you compare yourself to?
  • My boyfriend says I look like Sienna Miller, but I am highly doubtful of that. I wouldn't be able to compare myself to any film or TV star to be honest!

5. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be!?
  • Pale green.

6. Have you ever met anyone famous?
  • Only in art world terms, but I saw David Attenborough in Tate Britain.

7. Favourite book?
  • The Help.

8. What's your party trick?
  • I don't have one, but if  I throw a party you can guarantee there will be too much food.

9. Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
  • Scarily, I will be nearly 31 in 5 years, so I suppose at that point thinking about having children, a home that I own and maybe married, but I'm too scared! Career wise I hope to progress in my current job, because the people there are amazing.

10. What is your favourite movie quote?
  • Can I say music quote? Macklemore: 'Change the game, don't let the game change  you'.

11. And last but not least, what is one goal that you have set yourself for 2014?
  • To get fit and cut down on chocolate.

11 questions from Megan:
1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  • Zoella.

2. What are your favourite blog posts to write and why?
  • Probably homeware and health.

3. Name your top 3 Favourite blogs at the moment. 

4. Which Celebrity's makeup do you love? 
  • Natalie Portman.

5. Which Celebrity Style do you love? 
  • Kylie Jenner.

6. If you could take 3 items to a desert island what would you take and why? 
  • Phone, Water and Moisturiser.

7. Makeup or Fashion? 
  • Fashion

8. What is your dream job? 
  • Director of a Museum or Gallery.

9. Where in the world do you want to visit the most? 
  • Australia.

10. What tip would you give a newbie blogger knowing what you know now? 
  • Blog about what you love, not what everyone else is blogging about.

11. Last one so lets make it fun – do you have a party trick?? 
  • Nope, sorry!

My 11 questions are:
1. What news website do you read most?
2. Who motivates you the most?
3. Did you get good grades at school?
4. How have you found blogging?
5. What is your favourite snack?
6. What is your favourite way to relax?
7. Is your hair dyed?
8. Baking: love it or hate it?
9. What is the story behind your blog name?
10. If you found £10 in the street, what would you do with it?
11. How many photos do you currently have on your phone?

I nominate:
1. Charlotte at Charlotte Goes Cruelty-Free.
2. Courtney at Wonder of Dreams.
3. Nicole at Little Love Peanut.
4. Hannah at Honey and Ricotta.
5. Zoe at Stone Fox Inc.
6. Collette at Shrewd Fox.
7. Alex Louise at Belle Nouveau.
8. Rheya at PixiRella.
9. Natalie at Adore Thee.
10. Lisa (would have if not already nominated!)
11. Megan (would have if not already nominated!)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Homeware finds of the week – Über Chic

A screen shot of Jordan Cluroe's website.

These past few weeks I have been loving watching The Great Interior Design Challenge on BBC Two. The series has finished now and the winner was Sarah Moore. Although her design skills were impeccable, I preferred the designs of the runner up, Jordan Cluroe. The rooms he created were über chic. It inspired me to have a look for some really high calibre products. I found Ferm Living and I have a feeling Jordan may have used some of their products on the show. I am so impressed by their range of chic homeware and beautiful prints. So, apologies, literally half of my list is from Ferm Living! Also another shout out to Temporary Secretary for introducing me to Flamingo Candles, they are so much more affordable than Jo Malone!

1. Flamant Home Interiors Dwade Nickle Round Clock, Amara.

2. Asian Pear & Plum Classic Square Jar Candle, Flamingo Candles.

3. Geometry Cup, Ferm Living

4. Terracotta Jug, Sue Pryke

5. Wine Bottle Candleholder, Ferm Living

6. Maya Poster, Ferm Living

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Different lunch idea

Little leek and asparagus tarts
You will need:
1 leek
3 pieces of fine asparagus
1/4 of a litre of milk (I used soya milk)
3 eggs
salt and pepper
shortcrust pastry
margarine (to grease the tin)
frying pan
chopping board
1 cookie cutter
measuring jug
herb chopper
12 hole non-stick baking tin

1. Finely chop one leek and fry in the frying pan with 3 pieces of asparagus
2. Grease the baking tin

3. Use the herb chopper to finely chop the leek even more and cut the asparagus into small pieces, approximately 1.5cm long

4. Cut 12 pastry cases from the shortcrust pastry

5. Add to the tin

6. Add two bits of asparagus to each pastry case and a pinch of the leek

7. Whisk 3 eggs and add to 1/4 of a litre of milk, season with salt and pepper. Pour this mixture carefully into the pastry cases.

8. Cook in a hot oven, at 200°, for 10 minutes. Leave to cool on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then pack them into your lunch box and enjoy them as a nice treat at work or at school.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Homeware finds of the week – Cats!!!

I am a cat person and I love homeware, therefore I thought I need to check out what is on the market that combines my two loves. I am pretty much definitely going to have to get this slightly creepy, but super cute, cut out ginger kitten!
1. 'Love My Cat' Ceramic Mug by Kelly Connor Designs, £11.95,
2. Flat Pets Ginger Kitten from Garudio Studiage, £12, Culture Label  

5. Cat Salt & Pepper from Maiden, £16, Culture Label 

And here's my cat, Whispurr!
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