Saturday 30 November 2013

November Haul And Gifts - H&M, Ebay, Maybelline, Magazines And Poundworld

Hey lovelies x well my intention in November was to be good and concentrate on buying things for other people rather than for myself and by and large I've achieved that. That said I do have a couple of things to show you that I bought and that my lovely momma bought me :)

I've ordered loads of things this month from ebay for Christmas presents but I also got a couple of bargain items for me :) First of all this hook and loop bracelet.

It's in a metallic brown faux leather and features a gold tone intricately designed metal section and a gold hook and loop fastening. I paid 93p for it from this seller but due to weird exchange rates it currently just 91p including postage x 

The next thing I got from ebay was another jewellery piece. This is going to be something that you will either love or hate but I love it x 

Yes it a huge wooden cat pendant on a silver tone chain. I've seen similar things elsewhere and they were a lot more money than this. I paid 98p for this including postage but it's now 97p from this seller.

My next purchase came from Poundworld - I didn't need another phone case but I fell in love with this

Yeah it's a little handbag. It's made of rubber and your phone just slots into the back and you can carry it with the little handle.

I've seen similar ones on ebay and they were a little bit more money than this. You can get them for the iPhone 4 and 5 :)

I only picked up one make up and beauty related item this month, another Bourjois Color Edition 24 Hour Eyeshadow.

This time I went for the shade Kaki Cherie - a gorgeous golden olive green colour. I'm going to do a full review of these shadows in the weeks to come x 

I only bought one more thing in November but there is a bit of a story here so bear with me :) In last months haul you may have see the Primark tartan scarf that I got courtesy of Michelle, well I showed Mummy Lou and her response wasn't that enthusiastic. I wasn't sure why till she gave me a carrier bag and said "well I may as well give you this now" - What was it? well see for yourself

Yes a tartan scarf from H&M - She bought it for me as a Christmas present when she thought I wouldn't be able to get my hands on the Primark version. The colours and design are different and I have to say it's much bigger than the Primark version, I love it and I'm so pleased that my mum got me it. Hopefully this picture gives you an idea of the size.

I loved this scarf so much I went online and bought the other colour way - a beige, nude and camel. This was £9.99 and I love it's so warm and cozy.

As well as the scarf my lovely momma also bought me a few things including some magazines - Despite my love of blogs and the internet, there is still something about the glossy magazine that draws me in, especially when there is a freebie involved. UK magazines seem to have really upped their games this year when it comes to freebies. Now we are more likely to get a branded beauty product than a beach bag or a pair of flip flops. This month she got two magazines which came with free nail polishes.

Glamour came with a choice of Kate Spade For Nails Inc nail polishes. I got the silver foil - Soho Silver

and Cosmopolitan came with a mini Orly nail polish - I got a shade I've wanted for a long time Country Club Khaki - a gorgeous nude taupe.

She also got me Marie Claire which came with a free full sized Rituals Fortune Scrub In Sweet Orange And Cedar.

The final thing she got me was an IKEA Skurar Candle Holder

I already have a couple of the Skurar plant pots which I use for liners and brushes so I had to have this. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to use this for but I loved it. This was £2.50 and I noticed on the IKEA website that there are quite a few new pieces in the range including a little bowl which I love but Gateshead didn't have :(

H&M Scarf - £9.99
Cat Necklace - ebay - 98p
Bourjois Color Edition 24 Hour Eye Shadow - Kaki Cheri - £6.99
Phone Case - Poundworld - £1.00
Bracelet - ebay - 93p
Total - £19.89
£20.11 - Under

Excluding the bits that Mummy Lou bought and just counting the things that I bought I am way under my limit for this month. I spent less than half of this months limit so I'm pretty pleased with myself. Despite more than a few shopping opportunities planned for next month I hoping that I can stick to my limit and end the year on a high. If you want to find out more about the things in my haul please check my monthly haul video here or you can watch it below.

 If you have any other questions on anything that I've got this month please let me know and I'd love to know what goodies you've picked up in November x

Friday 29 November 2013

Foodie Friday - What I Ate In November

Well it's the last Friday in November so it's time to share with you some of the things that I've eaten over the last 4 weeks. I'm a bit poorly so food to be honest is the last thing on mind but I'm going to struggle through just for you guys ;)

I know this is supposed to be a what I ate in November post but I'm actually going to start with a couple of bit that I ate in October, on the 31st of October to be precise.

Yes, it was Halloween so that means I needed to us up a vat of pumpkin from this years all be it badly carved attempts. So I made one of my favourite ever dishes Delias Pumpkin And Toasted Sweetcorn Soup (click here to see how to make my version) which I served alongside some yummy Spicy Mexican Cornbread.

I stuck with the warm comforting theme for the majority of the month, there is definitely a nip in the air now and I'm sure it won't be long before the snow arrives. Seeing as the festive season is nearly upon us the supermarkets are full of Stilton and my mum seems to be picking a little wedge up every time she goes out at the minute, I've made my Stilton, Walnut and Broccoli pasta a few times this month but for a change I made another of my winter staples - Broccoli and Stilton Soup :)

Sticking with the comfort food theme I made some Cheesy Marmite Pasta,

and a veggie chilli which I pimped up a bit by making it into a sort of chilli lasagna. Instead of pasta though I used some Newburn Bakehouse Gluten Free Wraps which were reduced in Tesco.

I just put them where I would put the pasta in between layers of veggie chilli and gluten free cheese sauce. I was surprised it how well this worked, and it's something that I'll definitely do again.

Sticking with the tomato and gluten free theme, I also tried something that I believe Kate recommended. Tesco Frozen Polenta Balls. I normally make my own set polenta but these are a real time saver and something that us gluten and wheat free peeps can use instead of gnocchi. I just popped them in a pan of boiling salted water, waited till they'd risen to the top, and then I mixed them into some shop bought tomato and basil pasta sauce and sprinkled them with a bit of cheddar, so good and I'm definitely going to get some more and experiment a bit :)

There's nothing like a bit of Mediterranean inspired eating to make you think of warmer climates and happy times, and this month I showed you a couple of recipes that remind me of Greek and Cypriot holidays first up there was my spicy version of Nigella's Red Pepper Hummus (#TeamNigella).

and this month I also fried some gorgeous squeaky, salty Halloumi and served it with a lovely fresh salad.

Lets be honest though it's not summer and I'm not in the Med so I need sugar and warmth at the moment which had in abundance in November - starting with my super quick Microwave Lemon Sponge Pudding,

and a real childhood favourite Mummy Lou's Gluten Free Boiled Fruit Cake x

Now that we're in the festive season all of the top coffee shops have launched their festive drinks and I've already managed to try a few - first up was the Costa White Chocolate Hot Chocolate - I hate cherry or anything cherry flavoured so I had no cherry drizzle and just a sprinkling of edible gold stars :)

It was good but not quite as amazing as I'd hoped it would be, That said I will probably have it again. Next up Starbucks, Toffee Nut Lattes are my real festive love, but I went for the Chocolate Orange Mocha instead! I have a new love this was amazing like Terry's Chocolate Orange with a hint of coffee. I had a shot of the Christmas blend in mine which added to the fruitiness - yum!

I've also been drinking a lot of warming drinks this month including some Whittards White Chocolate Hot Chocolate and some of their Caramel Hot Chocolate. I also tried peanut butter hot chocolate for the first time. I know you can get the powders and mixes but I made my own. I warmed some milk and mixed in some cocoa powder, some vanilla extract, some sugar and some peanut butter. I was so good but it was sooooo rich, I'll definitely make it again but I think I'll make smaller mugs next time.

The final two things that I ate this month are courtesy of a new gluten free brand that's recently appeared in Tesco - Udis. They introduced a whole range of gluten free yums including pop tarts, and bagels! I've tried the plan and the savoury onion ones up to now and they are good - my mum actually prefers them to normal bagels. Here I'm using the onion ones, topped with scrambled eggs with rocket and feta :)

Perhaps though my favourite Udis purchase up to now, has to be their mince pies. I've tried loads of gluten free mince pies over the years some are great, and some well aren't, these are probably the best I have ever tested (bar my mums :). The mince is full of fruit and the pastry is buttery and crumbly. They are fab but at over £2 for a  box of four it's probably cheaper to make my own :(

The last thing I'm going to show you is something that I'm yet to eat but this month me and my mum made our Christmas cake. We make a gluten free version of Delia Smiths Creole Christmas Cake (you can see my recipe here) which smells amazing both before and after it's cooked.

No pictures of the finished cake but I'll post some next month, when it's decorated. My mum is going to make her own marzipan this year which I'm very excited for. I hate almond flavouring so I usually end up cutting the marzipan and the icing off the cake but this year she's going to make her own vanilla flavoured paste :)

It's scary to think but this time next month Christmas will be all over! I don't know about you but I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year and of course I'm looking forward to eating lots of yummy and special food, hopefully in moderation but who knows :) Let me know what you've been eating in November and I'd love to know what your looking forward to eating in December x Leave me a comment and let me know x

Thursday 28 November 2013

MUA Nails - Koala Bear

I'm nearing the add of my Renunail 4 week challenge and I still haven't used up all of the nail pictures that I have in draft.

MUA Nail Polish in Koala Bear is the shade that I wore on the day I went on holiday. It doesn't scream holidays I know but it went with my outfit - what can I say. The is the only MUA polish that I own to date in their new Essie style bottles. I didn't notice any real difference in consistency or application but this did need a few coats for full coverage. This is two here and I probably could have done with 3.

I am a huge fan of grey nail polish and it isn't that common a colour on the high street, so for the price of just £1 this is well worth picking up. Have you tried any of the repackaged MUA colours? what do you think? let me know your recommendations or your ones to avoid x

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Thinking Slimmer - Slim Pod - Week 27 - Part 2

Well for the 3rd week in a row my weight has stayed the same. Again I'm not that surprised I've had a major CFS flare up over the past few days and to be honest I've been using food as fuel and I haven't really cared what I've eaten.

Whilst I haven't gained since I returned from holiday I have to say I'm a bit disappointed as to how things have gone admittedly I've had a couple of bad weeks but I've also had some good ones where I've tried really hard. My GP and my hospital consultant told me that it would be tough for me to lose weight and it certainly has been but I'm not giving up I've proved I can do it, and I'm not going to let my lack of progress put me off.

It's December on Sunday and what does that mean? Well the start of the season of over indulgence of course! It's all too easy to say sod the diet, sod the healthy eating and bring on the chocolate and I have to say that's something that I've done in the past but no more. Christmas is probably the worst time for gaining weight and it's all too easy to say "I'll start again in January" but I'm sick of undoing all my good work in a two week blowout. Don't get me wrong I'm really looking forward to all of that chocolate, all those mince pies and every other yummy that the festive season has to offer but this year I'm going to really try and not to go too crazy. As you've probably gathered my and denial are not friends. I firmly believe that if you deny yourself something you want it all the more, so this year it's going to be all about eating gorgeous things but in moderation, not eating and eating till I feel sick and can't move!

This year I'm going to make a real effort to be sensible. The Slim Pod is making a huge difference as to how I view food and how I see myself so Christmas will be a real test as to how far I've come. I'm under no illusions that this isn't going to be easy but The lovely people from Thinking Slimmer though recognise that Christmas is a tough time for anyone who is dieting, watching their weight or just trying to eat healthily so they've came up with something that might help.

Up until the 5th December you can download a free special Slim Pod worth £29.99 from the Thinking Slimmer website. "Keep The Pounds Off Over Christmas" is designed to help you enjoy the festive the season without damaging your waistline. I've already downloaded mine and from today, it will be part of my nightly routine. So click the links, check out the Thinking Slimmer website and twitter and give it a go, you've got nothing to lose bar maybe a bit of weight :)

I'm going to keep at it so thanks for the support and I promise next weeks post will be up on Monday as per usual x

(The Thinking Slimmer Slim Pod "Drop 2 Dress Sizes (Or More)" Was Provided For Review / Promotional Purposes."Keep The Pounds Off Over Christmas Was Downloaded For Free)

Saturday 23 November 2013

Foodie Friday On A Saturday - Mummy Lou's Gluten Free Boiled Fruit Cake

I'm such a bad blogger at the moment that I may as well permanently rename this series Foodie Friday On A Saturday. I hope you'll forgive but I went Christmas shopping with Mummy Lou yesterday and I was feeling a bit bedraggled last night x

I'm mentioned a couple of times on the blog about food items that I associate with my childhood. Well this recipe is another one of those. This cake was probably the cake of my childhood bar a chocolate butter cream sponge made to look like a ladybird :). So many people don't like fruitcake, it's too dark, it's not sweet enough, it's too dry. yeah I've heard it all, but this one is different. This is quite a light fruitcake, dominated by luscious juicy, moist fruit. This is the gluten free version that my mum devised from her original recipe but if your not gluten free, this works perfectly well with normal wheat flour x The method is a little odd but give it a go, it's well worth it x

Mummy Lou's Gluten Free Boiled Fruit Cake

1/4 Pint Water 
1 Tea Bag (Optional)
1 Ttsp Vanilla Extract
100g Butter Or Margarine
100g Sugar 
300g Dried Fruit
1 Egg
200g Gluten Free (Or Normal) Self Raising Flour

1. Measure out 1/4 of a pint of boiling water, and use it to infuse a tea bag for about 10 minutes - it can be a normal tea bag or something vanilla or spice based - I'm using a Twinings Herbal Sensations Camomile And Maple Sensations tea bag which I reviewed here. You don't have to do this if you don't want to but I like the extra warmth and flavour that the tea gives x If your not using tea measure out 1/4 of a pint of water and move on to step two.

2. Measure out your butter or matgarine (I'm using half and half here),

your sugar - I'm using golden granulated infused with a vanilla pod here x 

and your fruit, again you can use any dried fruit you like, I'm using sultanas. Then add the fat, the sugar and the fruit to a large saucepan.

3. Then add your water or tea and the vanilla extract to the pan and bring it the the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes

4. After about 20 minutes the fruit should be plump, and the mixture should almost have formed a sticky sauce. Take it off the heat and leave it to cool for about 20 minutes.

5. Crack your egg into a small bowll a give it a good beat x

Then add it into your cooled fruit and give it a good mix.

6. Preheat your oven to 150 C and grease and line a loaf tin.

7. Then measure out your flour

and stir it well into your fruit mix a little bit at a time.

Your mix should be of a soft dropping consistency, if its too wet add a little bit more flour, and if it's too dry and a little bit more egg or a little bit of milk.

8. Then spoon it into your loaf tin and bake for about 1 and a half hours.

9. Check it after an hour though - the cake should spring back when it's cooked and a skewer should come out clean when it's inserted into the middle.

Leave it in the tin for about an hour until it's cooled before removing and transferring to a cooling rack (those are my mums experiment - lime and chocolate chip biscuits in the background)

Voila - slice and serve x It keeps for a few days in an air tight tin or wrapped in foil or cling film x 

This really is one of my favourite cakes and reminds me so much of my childhood my mum used to make a huge one on a Sunday and we have yummy cake for the rest of the week. I can't guarantee that this will convert fruit cake haters but it's definitely worth a try x You can obviously vary the fruits and the flavourings adding cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, or whatever else you like. Are you a fruit cake fan let me know and I'd love to know what recipes remind you of your childhood x