Saturday, 30 August 2014

The British TAG

The British Tag - Gingerbread Smiles

I found this tag on Emily's blog and I fancied having a go! I love all things British like scones and jam, cups of tea, unpredictable weather and fish and chips. Aren't they just the best!
... 

1. How many cups of tea do you have a day? How many sugars?
I have a cup of green tea and a cup of normal tea with one sugar.

2. Favourite part of your roast?
Has to be roasties! I could just live on roasties with gravy forever!

3. Favourite dunking biscuit
Dark chocolate digestives. Has to be dark chocolate though, non of this milk chocolate nonsense.

4. Favourite quintessentially British pastime?
Afternoon tea!

5. Favourite word
Poppet

6. Cockney rhyme slang
Joe Blake - Cake!

7. Favourite sweet
It has to be some sort of gummy sweet if not chocolate, so I would go with Haribo starmix or strawberry laces.

8. What would your pub be called?
The Blue Whale

9. No.1 British person
Emma Bunton - has to be baby spice doesn't it!

10. Favourite shop / restaurant
I don't know if I have a favourite restaurant or shop. I do however love going to country pubs in England! The freshly cooked grub is always the best.

11. What British song pops into your head?
Probably something from Oasis or Blur - I don't even like them but that is what I think when I think British...

12. Marmite?
Urgh, no thanks!
Would love to see some other people taking part! Let's get our British on!
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Healthy Chilli Con Carne Recipe

Recently I've been trying to eat clean with fresh ingredients and no added nasties, which means store bought sauces have been removed from house! Instead I've taken to Pinterest for healthy versions of our favourites. I'm a huge lover of chilli con carne, whether it be with rice, in a wrap, or with a lovely salad - it is just a yummy dish. I found this recipe on the Southern-In-Law blog and I've edited it to add some extra goodness! This has become a firm favourite in our house because it is tasty and such an easy recipe to whip up!

Healthy Chilli Con Carne Recipe - Beef or Turkey - Clean Eating

Healthy Chilli Con Carne Recipe - Clean Eating Diet

Ingredients - serves 4
- 250g beef or turkey mince
-1/2 onion chopped (I use frozen to save time!)
-1 medium carrot, grated (with skin on for more nutrients)
-5 mushrooms, chopped
-1 or 2 tomatoes, chopped into chunks (optional to add more freshness)
-1 clove garlic, crushed (I use lazy chopped garlic)
-1/2 tbsp cumin 
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp paprika 

-1/4 tsp chilli powder

-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add more or less chilli and cayenne depending on how hot you like it)
-2 tins of crushed tomatoes (800g)
-1 tbsp tomato paste (I usually use more!)
- a cube of beef stock powder
-1 bay leaf (optional)
-1 medium can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (about 450g)

Healthy Chilli Con Carne Recipe - Clean Eating Diet

Healthy Chilli Con Carne Recipe - Clean Eating Diet

Healthy Chilli Con Carne Recipe - Clean Eating Diet

1. First cook your mince until browned off, if using turkey mince add the beef stock now to add more flavour. Move your mince to one side of the pan so you can cook your onions. When they start to soften add your spices and garlic and combine. Give that a few minutes then mix the mince and the onions together.

2. Next add your chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and grated carrot. Mix together and leave to cook for a few minutes making sure to stir.

3. Add your tinned chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and beef stock (if you are using beef mince), stir through and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and add your bay leaf. Leave for around 30 minutes to an hour depending on how thick you like it.

4. When it has reached your preferred consistency remove the bay leaf and add your kidney beans and stir through. Leave to cook for around 5/10 minutes longer before serving.


Serving suggestions - I like to eat mine in a baby gem lettuce leaf with a dollop of greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of cheese. Mmmmmm!

Do you have any good Pinterest recipes you can suggest?!

*I left out the mushrooms and kidney beans by accident in my haste to get these pictures done! Oops!
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Friday, 22 August 2014

#MakeSummerAmazing Giveaway Winner


My giveaway for a £50 Boots gift card with Hillary's Blinds is now over! There were a lot of entries but the winner is...

Jayne Fotheringham

Well done! I'm sure you will buy lots of goodies!

Don't forget there is still time to get your entries in for Hillary's Blinds' #MakeSummerAmazing competition. Simply complete something from their fun list of activities, write up your experience with lots of pictures and you could be in with the chance of winning a trip to Ireland.

All links must be sent to Sandeep.Matharu@hillarys.co.uk by 11.59pm on Monday 25th August 2014. The competition is open to all residents of England, Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man aged 18 and above. Full terms and conditions for the competition can be found here.
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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tips to make following recipes and cooking that little bit easier!

In our house I'm the one that cooks the meals so I've had to get savvy in order to save time. I  do love cooking, but sometimes it can get a little too tedious which has meant I've wanted to find some short cuts. Here are a few of my tips to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your food.

Four tips to spend less time in the kitchen!

Tips to make following recipes and cooking that little bit easier!

*Get everything prepared and ready before you begin. Basically pretend you are on a cooking show. Get lots of little bowls and plates out so that you can prepare all your ingredients ready to throw into your recipe. This means you won't get half way through your recipe and realise you've forgotten something!

Tips to make following recipes and cooking that little bit easier!

*Get your measuring spoons out ready next to your spices. Line up your spices behind the spoon relating to how much you need. It makes it much easier than having to peer at your recipe each time you pick up a spice then having to find the right spoon!

Tips to make following recipes and cooking that little bit easier!

*Clean up as you go. Get the sink full of soapy water ready to wash dishes as you go. As well as this make sure to chuck packets and extra bits of food in the bin so you have less to clean up at the end. I makes sense really as you will have time to chill whilst your food is cooking away because all the clean up will be done.

Tips to make following recipes and cooking that little bit easier!

*Take the easy way out. Okay who else cries when they cut onions, have fingers smelling of garlic for days after touching one and huge vegetables get the better of their strength? Well I know I can answer ME to all those! I've found supermarket products that make my life so much easier. For years I've been using frozen onion, but only now have I discovered other kitchen hacks. You can buy garlic and chillies already chopped from Very Lazy which is so much quicker and easier than cutting it yourself! Then just recently I found butternut squash cut and frozen! My life was made as I always struggle cutting them and then having to scrape out their seeds.

Hopefully I've made your life a little bit easier with my tips? Some you probably already know and do, but oh well! It's nice to spell it out sometimes!

Do you have any good tips for me?
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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Throwback Thursday!

Throwback Thursday, it's a thing people do right? Well I've decided to pick a few posts from last year that you may or may not have seen before (depending when you started following). I hope you enjoy this short trip back in time!

First up was that time I decided to make candles! In November last year I thought it would be a good idea to start making candles, maybe even start selling them. Well as with a lot of things that didn't happen and I now have millions of jars in my spare room waiting for something to happen to them. As Autumn and Winter grow ever closer I might get our my wax flakes and scents and have another go! Read all about the process I went through to make the candles and see some pretty pictures - I know us bloggers can't resist candles so have a peek!


Next up was the time we took a trip to Runswick Bay. This is a gorgeous coastal location perfect for some time by the seaside. Indulge in some scenic pictures of this North East gem whilst in the comfort of your own home!


One of the prettiest manicures I've posted on this blog happens to be this gloppy nail art. I was so pleased with how it turned out and I even wrote a brief explanation as to how I did it. Hopefully you can try it too?


Quite a popular post at the time, and one I think can interest you all if you want to know a bit more about me, was the post about where I work. See what I do and where I work - and yes it is related to the image below believe it or not!


Hope you've enjoyed this throwback Thursday!
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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle

Whenever I venture to a city I have to find a new exciting place to eat. On the train up to Newcastle, my friend and I discussed going to the Fat Hippo, having only heard good reviews. However when we were separated on our second train (as it was so busy) I overheard a group of people talking about an event and they reminded me that I wanted to give the Boiler Shop Steamer a try!

I'd been going on about this to Matt saying that I wanted to go as it is right up our street. Amazing food in an industrial quirky setting. The group that were chatting about this on the train mentioned it was free before 6pm on Saturday so I suggested it to my friend and she was up for!

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review

I got directions on my phone to the venue from the train station and to my surprise it was about 5 minutes away, just behind the train station! That was a bonus as it was just starting to rain. When we walked up to the the warehouse I was amazed! It looked so good, I was literally giddy to get inside and see what it was like! It didn't disappoint. Inside it looked like a disused warehouse with light shining in from the top windows and around the perimeter were different food vendors selling many cuisines as well as a bar with cocktails and beer.

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review

We wandered around the stalls to see what was on offer and funnily enough we decided on a burger from the Fat Hippo stall. Instead of paying the vendors directly with money you had to get tokens. Almost everyone's menus had a price listed next to the item in tokens and each one was worth £2. Our burgers were 2 tokens each and our fries 1 token, so basically the burgers were £4 each and the fries £2 which I think is pretty decent.

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review - The Fat Hippo

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review - The Fat Hippo

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review - The Fat Hippo

The Boiler Shop Steamer - Newcastle Review - The Fat Hippo

Although not the most attractive burger in the world, after being squished in the wrapper fresh from the grill, it certainly tasted great. The burger was cooked to perfection being a little pink inside and there was no grizzle or nasty bits in the meat just squishy yummyness! On top of the burger was cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard - so simple yet so tasty! There weren't that many people around at about 12.30pm on Saturday but I noticed on twitter that on the night it was ram packed! Definitely the place to be!

The Boiler Shop Steamer is on every first weekend of the month in Newcastle. I would definitely go again as the venue is amazing (if a little warm!), the food is gorgeous and the drinks are pretty nice too!

Have you been to this before? What do you think of it?
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Friday, 8 August 2014

Essence Colour & Go nail polish review and swatches - 172 Splash

Essence, a brand that has just landed in the UK much to the excitement of many beauty obsessed girls throughout the country. I myself can't wait to get hold of some of these well priced bargains. I was lucky enough to receive a nail polish, an eye liner, mascara and a lip gloss from Essence to review. So I've started with my favourite, nail polish!
essence colour and go nail polish - 172 splash swatch

essence colour and go nail polish - 172 splash swatch

essence colour and go nail polish - 172 splash swatch
172 Splash - £1.59*
When this polish arrived I fell in love with the colour! Although metallics can sometimes look a little childish I really liked this and couldn't wait to try it out. A great thing about these polishes is the brush. It is small but well formed holding a wide spread brush which coats a large section of your nails with ease. Its really easy to hold and manoeuvre over your nail, meaning you can stay in control and it makes it easier to stay on your nail.
The formula is great and glides on with ease. Even though I use a Seche Vite topcoat with this polish it stayed on marginally longer than normal polishes and didn't chip!
I'd definitely recommend these polishes as they are a great product at an amazing price. I'll have them all please!
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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

How to ensure your nails are stunning every time


I know that for some people doing your nails is something you dislike, its like a minefield. How do people get their fingernails so darn perfect? If you take some time our of your day to focus on your nails you can really ensure they are on point.

- Make sure your nails are clean and maintained. I mean all polish off, any nasty bits of skin polished clean, cuticles pushed and cut back as well as your nails being filed to create a smooth edge. Just a tip - use a crystal nail file as they are much gentler on your nails (without loosing the grit). Although this is a bit harsh as an extra clean I rub my nails with a nail brush and a bit of exfoliating wash to ensure they are sparkling and smooth! This may be too far but it works, just ensure to moisturise after to keep your skin soft...

-Invest in a good base coat. I always look for something that adds something to my nails (whether it help repair or strengthen my nails). It also has to be quite rubbery to help the nail polish stay on for longer.

-Make sure you paint around the tips of your nails to ensure your polish doesn't chip (or it takes a bit longer for it to start!). If you do this with your polish and your top coat it will seal the polish around the edges to help prevent chipping.

-The biggest secret to amazing looking nails is clean up. Before I learnt this I always thought people were magicians with a nail brush never getting a drop around their nails. How wrong I was and how easy it is to look like you are amazing at painting your nails. Basically you need a fine paint brush (I use a nail art brush I got in a set from ebay) and some nail polish remover, preferably in a little pot, with some tissue to dab the brush when removing colour. Then just use it to clean up like you would paint around your nail. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Be careful with colours like red though as they are harder to get off!

-Lastly don't forget to moisturise! If you don't moisturise on a regular basis you could have dry hands which will ruin even the best nail paint job. Either use cuticle cream or good ol' hand cream just make sure to give your hands some TLC.

Please note that I am self taught at doing my nails and have not had any training! If my tips work for you then great and if not at least we tried! Best of luck on your mission to have brilliant nails!
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Graze Breakfast Boxes

I've been a fan of Graze for years now, choosing to opt in and out of my weekly deliveries when I get a bit bored of them. Graze have really upped their game adding new snacks and different box types to their growing range. Right now I'm opting in and finding lots of new yummy treats including flapjacks, cakes, blends of tea and savoury bites. Now Graze have branched out and are now providing breakfast boxes full of granola and porridge.

Graze Breakfast Box Review - Granola Porridge

Graze Breakfast Box Review - Granola Porridge

In each breakfast box you receive four packets each the perfect size for your morning bowl. Just as you would with Graze snacks, for the breakfast box you can go on to the site and choose what you like the look of and what you definitely don't want them sending you. I've enjoyed trying some granola I wouldn't normally pick up such as a rocky road one with bits of cherry and a chocolate orange one with chocolate curls and dried orange. I've received two boxes so far but haven't had a chance to eat them all so I think I'll get this box once in a while rather than every week.

If you'd like a free breakfast box (new or existing customers) use this code - DanniY29

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