Monday, 31 March 2014

The big move.

I'm not sure if you've noticed but I've been blogging a lot less lately...well I've just moved into my first house with my boyfriend! We took some time off work to get the house cleaned and painted and finally moved in on Wednesday. It was all pretty stressful with people everywhere but they really helped us get the house to where we wanted it for our move in day.

I packed up my room in my mum's house and it was sad to see it empty and know that I wouldn't sleep there again. It is a weird feeling but I am happy in our new house and I can see us doing well! I can't wait to get everything unpacked and give it all a place in the house. At the moment the spare room is just a storage facility of boxes and as I didn't see a need to label boxes at the time I do not know where anything is. Clever...

Here are a few snaps reflecting the last week!


In the middle is our new house the day we moved in, then to the right is our food hamper from Matt's Mum and below that is the first new home card we received with some yummy chocolates. After that is me in my empty room at my Mum's house, the blue and grey room is our newly painted bedroom ready and awaiting furniture and lastly is our Friday night tea courtesy of our new toastie maker!

I have a few more house posts to come when we have put up a few more pieces of our Ikea furniture so keep an eye out!
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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough

Well you may have heard me twittering on about organising a meet up in Middlesbrough, last Sunday it finally happened! Quite a few people dropped out last minute which was disappointing but I think the small meet worked really well as we all got to chat to each other.

Firstly we met up at The Baker Street Kitchen on Baker Street, had some food and chatted to Tara from The Tara Emporium about her indie nail polish collection and her expanding variety of products including fashion, jewellery and bath products. She provided us all with a nail polish that she created to take home in our goody bags. Also in our goody bags was two products from Oriflame, a set of samples from Oqibo and some pop chips! I also received some tea from Bluebird Tea Co. but it came on the Monday after!

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Baker Street Kitchen

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Baker Street Kitchen

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Baker Street Kitchen

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Baker Street Kitchen

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Baker Street Kitchen

After we had our fill of food, we headed off to Lush where the lovely staff let us make a fresh face mask filled with blueberries and a Think Pink bath bomb then told us about all their new Mother's Day products as well as showing us how the Secret Garden bath bomb appears in water! Sorry for the overload of pictures!

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store - Fresh Face Mask

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store - Soap

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store - Think Pink Bath Bomb

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store - Think Pink Bath Bomb

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store - Secret Garden Bath Bomb

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store

Baker Street Meet, Middlesbrough - Lush Store
L-R - TracyRachelSteph, Tara, Jen, Becca and Me!

We all got to take away a little bag of treats from Lush which was lovely and unexpected! I had a great afternoon and it was lovely to meet some local bloggers! I'd like to thank all attendees for coming along, Lush Middlesbrough for having us in store, The Baker Street Kitchen for reserving our tables and also the lovely brands that gave products for the goody bags!
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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding - Little Apple Tree Guest Post

As I move into my new house I wanted to have some amazingly talented bloggers guest posting on Gingerbread Smiles. The lovely Angela volunteered her writing, and cooking skills to offer this amazing recipe! Hope you enjoy!
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Hello, my name is Angela and I run a lifestyle blog over at Little Apple Tree where I write about adventures around the West Country with my family, lovely places to eat, books, and occasionally share my love of Doctor Who. I’m so excited to be able to guest post for the lovely Danni on Gingerbread Smiles!

Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding - Little Apple Tree Guest Post

I'm totally not a morning person. Frankly, mornings suck. No matter how early I go to bed, getting up in the morning is always a struggle and by the time I've blearily staggered around the kitchen fixing Lucas's breakfast and packed lunch, the last thing on my mind is making my own breakfast. Even a smoothie. You're more likely to find me at the coffee shop begging the barista to give me a double espresso and the stickiest bun possible. Not good. Meet my new breakfast saviour--chia pudding!

Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding - Little Apple Tree Guest Post

If you haven't heard of chia seeds, let me tell you a little about them. They're about poppy seed sized and pack a huge nutritional punch. They're high in magnesium, calcium, iron and fibre, with a decent helping of protein. As if that wasn't enough, they are a fantastic source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. They also soak up incredible amounts of liquid forming a light gel which soothes your stomach and helps keep you hydrated. You can find them at your local health food shop or order from Amazon. Chia pudding is incredibly fast and easy to prepare. Just a little bit of light mixing the night before and you've got a fantastically tasty and nutritious breakfast waiting for you in the morning. Even I can manage to pull the bowl out of the fridge and spoon out a portion.
Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding - Little Apple Tree Guest Post

I've topped this week's chia pudding with oven-poached rhubarb simply because it's in season but you can use anything you fancy. Frozen mango chunks stirred into the pudding before you put it in the fridge overnight are very good--mango and coconut are best buds--and you could even use sliced banana or a dollop of jam if you're in a hurry.

Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding
Serves 4

400ml can coconut milk
100ml coconut water (or plain old water)
40g honey (preferably raw, but use whatever you have)
50g chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the honey, vanilla and about a quarter of the coconut milk in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk until the honey dissolves. Add the water, the rest of the coconut milk and then whisk in the chia seeds. The mixture will probably start to thicken as you're mixing. Cover with clingfilm and chill overnight (or for at least two hours). Overnight is always more convenient for me.

Coconut Chia Breakfast Pudding - Little Apple Tree Guest Post

Oven-poached rhubarb

300g (trimmed weight) rhubarb
40g caster sugar zest and juice of half an orange

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan oven). Chop the rhubarb into 5cm (2") lengths and lay in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with the caster sugar, zest and juice. Toss to coat in the sugary juices. Cover tightly with a layer of foil and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for another 5 minutes or until tender when tested with a sharp knife and the juices are syrupy. Cool to room temperature and then transfer to a bowl. To serve, give it a quick stir and then spoon into serving bowls or jars. Top with the poached rhubarb and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios.

Notes

The finished pudding will keep for four days in the fridge. I've kept the rhubarb on the tangy side of things. If you'd like it sweeter, then go ahead and slosh in a bit more sugar. The recipe does halve (or even quarter), so if you're doing a smaller batch, then stick all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. It also means that you can just grab the jar and go in the morning! You can make a mocha version by swapping the coconut water for a double shot of espresso and a heaped tablespoon of good cocoa powder.
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I definitely can't wait to try this! Make sure you head over to Angela's blog - Little Apple Tree for more amazing recipes!
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Monday, 24 March 2014

Manicure Monday - Naked Nails

I'm currently taking a week and a half off nail polish! It is particularly hard for me as I wear nail polish EVERYDAY. I'm hoping that this time off will make my nails a bit healthier and help to strengthen them. Although I never usually take time off nail polish I wanted to try as I've read about the benefits this can bring, and my nails really need the break!


Applying nail polish regularly and not allowing your nails time to breath can dry them out. This then leads to weak nails that are prone to breaking. Giving them time as well as supplying them with some useful products can improve their condition. I'm using OPI's original Nail Envy which is created to help dry and weakened nails. OPI have now developed their Nail Envy range to include solutions for other common problems such as dry & brittle nails and sensitive & peeling nails.

As well as using special products such as this it is always wise to make sure you are moisturising your hands and nails on a regular basis to keep your nails hydrated. I religiously moisturise my hands when I am off to work and before I go to bed but I am not so good at focusing on my nails. When I do get chance to focus on my nails I use Lush's Lemony Flutter cuticle butter. This is such a thick luxurious butter that sinks in to your cuticles and nails leaving them soft and hydrated.

I'm really looking forward to seeing whether this week off makes a difference to the condition of my nails. When I am in my new house I can't wait to paint my nails loads and loads but still have a few nail polish holidays every so often!
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Friday, 21 March 2014

China Glaze Sea Goddess Swatches and Review

I've done it again. I've purchased more nail polish. I know I know, I have enough already. You know what I say? I NEVER HAVE ENOUGH! So what polishes have I bought today? Well they come from China Glaze, a lovely large American nail polish company that I am sure you have all heard of. When I spotted these glittery beauties in Salon Services yesterday I knew they had to be mine!

China Glaze Sea Goddess Swatches and Review

China Glaze Sea Goddess Swatches and Review

China Glaze Sea Goddess Swatches and Review

China Glaze Sea Goddess Swatches and Review

These three are part of the Sea Goddess collection recently launched by China Glaze. They are named: Teal the Tides Turn (green), Shell We Dance (pink) and Seahorsin' Around (blue). As you can see I have only swatch tested these three on swatch sticks so haven't had the chance to wear them properly yet.

All three are textured polishes that apply with ease. I am in love with all three of these colours and don't possibly think I could pick a favourite they are all soo gorgeous and glittery! I can't wait to get the chance to try these three out as I think they will be perfect for Summer.
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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Healthy Nails - Crystal Nail File Review

I'm obsessed with keeping my nails in tip top condition. There is barely a day goes by when my nails aren't painted. When I take my polish off I have to prep my nails again for the next coat of polish and this is when I cut my nails, file them and get rid of any excess cuticle. I've been using a rather coarse nail file from Salon Services for a while but when Healthy Nails offered to let me try their Crystal nail file I was interested to see how it matched up.

Healthy Nails Crystal Nail File Review

Healthy Nails Crystal Nail File Review

Healthy Nails Crystal Nail File Review

Healthy Nails - Crystal Nail File - £12.99*

The Crystal nail file is the first product from Healthy Nails, a company planning to introduce a small number of carefully selected products to help keep nails healthy. The nail file is made in the Czech Republic from flat glass using acid etching to make the glass coarse.

On receiving this nail file from Amazon I was surprised how well this product was presented. Inside the packet was a cute little sleeve which held the nail file in it's case. The silver case, which is really handy for carrying this product in your bag, pulls apart to reveal the crystal nail file inside.

The nail file is sleek, small and very attractive to use with a shiny end to hold whilst you file. To the touch the glass feels like really fine, flat sandpaper. When I used this I was really impressed with how well it matched up to my other nail files, although not much to the touch when I started filing my nails I could see how fast it was making an impression. When using other nail files I find that I am left with rough edges to my nails with parts that could snag clothes but what I was amazed at with this is that it doesn't drag along your nails but rather 'turns the edges of my nails to dust' as stated on the website.

What I also find impressive about this product is that it claims to last forever! The special glass they use along with the acid etching means the product will never wear down and give a great finish as long as you own it.

I was really apprehensive to try a crystal nail file but I am so glad that Healthy Nails gave me the opportunity to try one as I now really appreciate how great they are! For £12.99 they may seem steep now but years on when you still have the same one you will realise what great value they are. They also come in two more colours - pink or purple - so you can choose a girlie version, or stick with plain black!

On Healthy Nails' website I found some great tips for keeping your nails in great shape such as filing tips, ways to stop biting your nails and also how base coat helps. Even if you are a nail pro these are really interesting reads!
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Monday, 17 March 2014

Manicure Monday - Brazilian Orange

Brazil, a gorgeously sunny country that will host the World Cup and the Olympics in the coming years. To commemorate this OPI have brought out a bright selection of colours ready for Summer. I picked up this orange - Where did Suzi's Man-Go - from Look Fantastic with 15% off!

OPI Brazil Collection - Where did Suzi's Man-Go Nail swatch

OPI Brazil Collection - Where did Suzi's Man-Go Nail swatch

OPI Brazil Collection - Where did Suzi's Man-Go Nail swatch

OPI Brazil Collection - Where did Suzi's Man-Go Nail swatch

Against my pale hands this beautiful colour is not looking as great as it could, add a little tan and this colour would pop. I do love the pale creamy colour of this orange as it isn't as garish as some oranges you can pick up. Although it is bright it is definitely a wearable colour that applies just as well as every other OPI polish. As with pale colours you have to be careful and apply quite a bit to ensure you get full coverage with no transparent sections.

I picked up another colour from the collection called Amazon-Amazoff which is a lovely teal green. I will try and wear it soon so I can get it up for a Manicure Monday.
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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Honey Bee Lush Bath Bomb Review

I've recently become obsessed with Lush and their gorgeous bath products. Whenever I'm in I have to have a smell and add a new one to my basket. This is the first one of Lush’s bath ballistics that I used after having such a good experience with the bubble bars.


Lush Honey Bee Bath Bomb Review
Lush Honey Bee Bath Bomb Review


Lush Honey Bee Bath Bomb Review

Honey Bee is described on the website as “a sweet scented bath bomb with honey and rhassoul mud to soothe the skin”. The smell of this is so hard to describe as it doesn't instantly strike a memory of other scents. It is very sweet and doesn't smell strongly of honey as you’d expect which is why I like it as I'm not too keen on honey. When I asked my boyfriend and mum what they thought they said it smelt of sweets.

The look of the bath bomb is yellow and brown, almost like a bee...see what they did there! The brown part of this is rhassoul mud which I've found after researching on their website has natural cleansing properties and helps condition and moisturise the skin. When I popped this in my bath it created a great fizz and turned the water yellow. The smell fills the bathroom and creates a lovely soothing bath. The only bad thing I found was that there were little bits of what I assume to be the mud at the bottom of the bath and after the water was drained it left the bath yellow, but this is easily washed off.
After my bath the smell lingered on my skin for quite a while which was gorgeous. This is my favourite bath ballistic so far, but I will let you know if something takes the top spot! I would definitely recommend this if you don’t mind giving your bath a little scrub when you get out.
Have you tried this before?
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Friday, 14 March 2014

Pudding Club - 12 Harland Place

12 Harland Place's Pudding Club happens every first Monday of the month and gets booked up month in advance. We booked to go around November so when March finally came we were excited to try it out. The concept of the night is so clever and engaging. Everyone is given 10 small portions of desserts to try and then rate on a score card. The dessert with the highest score of the night will be put on the menu for that month.

I've been to Harland Place twice before, once for a meal and the second time for a similar night with starters. I have to say I wasn't overly impressed by my two visits so I had high hopes for the pudding club.

Pudding Club - 12 Harland Place - Stockton, Norton

Pudding Club - 12 Harland Place - Stockton, Norton

Pudding Club - 12 Harland Place - Stockton, Norton

Pudding Club - 12 Harland Place - Stockton, Norton

First slate included; honey, mango and pineapple yoghurt, sticky fudge and toffee pudding and reese's pieces cheesecake. Second included; rhubarb and ginger trifle, peanut butter brownie, blueberry and white chocolate cheesecake. Third included; white chocolate and raspberry tart, white chocolate and lemon cheesecake and chocolate fudge brownie.

Although most of these desserts were okay, nothing was exceptional. I enjoyed the honey, mango and pineapple yoghurt but this is more of a breakfast dish that a dessert. The other desserts were standard and I wasn't too keen. 12 Harland Place is quite renowned for desserts and yet I was unimpressed.

I think this place has so much potential as the venue itself is gorgeous they just really lack the wow factor with their food. Other people have told me that they thoroughly enjoy 12 Harland Place, so it may just be that I am extremely fussy!

I'd recommend you try it for yourself to make your own opinion as you may like it but it isn't for me.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event

Recently an opportunity to attend a North East blogger event came up and it happened to be very local to me, in Middlesbrough. The event was held to showcase the Spring/Summer 2014 trends at Psyche, organised by Media Works. The event was originally organised for last year but after a freak storm the whole of the Middlesbrough town centre was in darkness meaning the event was off! Another date was set for last Thursday and thankfully mother nature was kind.

I hadn't met up with any NE bloggers before so I was really excited to meet the bloggers I'd been chatting to on twitter and organised to meet Kloe before we went in to the event.

The event started with all the bloggers receiving a generous goody bag and being given a glass of bubbly. After everyone was settled Steve Cochrane, Psyche's Managing Director and creator, told us about the inception of the shop and it's growth to where it is now. He also went on to tell us about his future vision for Psyche which involves a shop in Leeds and a bigger online presence following a pretty nifty update to their website.

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Following Steve was one of the store's buyers. She told us about the trends for spring and summer including comfy flowing garments, tribal/animal prints, lace and visible zips. Steve then gave us a quick run through of the upcoming men's fashion trends. Two of the three floors in the Middlesbrough store are allocated to men's wear leaving only the top floor for woman and children. Steve believes that when men shop they want to be in and out, this is why the men's affordable fashion is on the ground floor which is easily accessible, then on the second floor are the more premium products and specialist services such as tailoring.

The reason he places the woman's fashion on the top floor is that he thinks woman have more of a tolerance to shopping meaning they will wade through the two floors of men's to get to woman's with ease and they want to shop, where as men will find this a hassle. I do think this makes sense but there needs to be more of a focus on the woman to encourage them to come into the store.

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

Psyche SS14 Blogger Event Middlesbrough

We were then given a tour of the shop by Steve which was very interesting as he told us about the specific brands that they stock and also went into detail about a few of the products they sell.

Overall it was a great event. Although I am not a fashion blogger it certainly educated me as to what was in this season, even if I'm not keen on some of the trends. I really want to thank Psyche and Media Works for holding a great event.
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Monday, 10 March 2014

Manicure Monday - So Fluffy I'm Gonna Die!

Today I wanted to try out one of my indie polishes by Glam Polish. Glam Polish is an Australian indie nail polish brand that create a host of gorgeous mixes. They came up with a collection inspired by Despicable Me which included this polish called 'So Fluffy I Wanna Die!'

Glam Polish - So Fluffy I Wanna Die, Indie Nail Polish Swatch

Glam Polish - So Fluffy I Wanna Die, Indie Nail Polish Swatch

Glam Polish - So Fluffy I Wanna Die, Indie Nail Polish Swatch

Glam Polish - So Fluffy I Wanna Die, Indie Nail Polish Swatch

Glam Polish - So Fluffy I Wanna Die, Indie Nail Polish Swatch

I've applied this polish after two coats of OPI - Alpine Snow, my go to white nail varnish. The polish is basically a pink and yellow glitter which applies lovely. The look of this polish is so pretty, it is like having lots of little sprinkles on your nails.

I love the look of all Glam Polish products and would definitely buy more in the future! Glam Polish can be ordered in the UK from Rainbow Connection.
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