31 May 2016

My May Favourites

Dorset Tea Strawberries & Cream Tea, £2.25/20 teabags
Earth Conscious Hippy Paste Deodorant Balm, £5/60g
Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Roll-on Perfume, £12/10ml
Hurraw! Coffee Bean Lip Balm, £3.99/4.3g
Neve Cosmetics Occhioni Mineral Black Mascara, £10.95
Pukka Organic Rosewater, £11.95/100ml

Would you like to subscribe to my little YouTube channel? You can click here to do so. I would be very, very grateful if you did! Do let me know if you have any particular video requests! I have two hauls coming up and some other videos to film very soon. Also, be sure to leave me your video channel links below!

30 May 2016

My Weekend In Pictures

Yay, the end of my working week! That was a tough one - knackered. Looking forward to a week of leisure. I slept till early afternoon, mooched around for a bit and opened up my latest Ethical Superstore order which was waiting for me outside the door. I picked up lots of edible goodies! And a couple of beauty essentials. More on those soon. I did a quick tidy through and had a quick shower. I placed a very exciting order on TK Maxx, saving over £100 on the RRPs of two items! I think I've caught that darned spending bug again, oops... Well, at least I always find awesome bargains! The in-laws came round for dinner - we had nachos and fajitas and watched Hot Pursuit on Netflix. After they left, I watched some Eastenders. Before I knew it, 10pm was approaching and I was more than ready to curl up in bed with my book! However, I didn't get to sleep properly until 2:30am, due to some very inconsiderate neighbours having a party in their garden!

I was still tired when I woke up earlier than required. I watched Eastenders with breakfast and did some laundry. After a quick shower and saving a little spider (big deal for me, as I have a phobia of spiders, but I'm trying), I did some ironing while watching another episode or two of Eastenders. I had a random lunch of Nairn's oatcakes with sour cream & chive dip, then watched nostalgic Legally Blonde. Reese Witherspoon does not age, does she?! I put a couple of items on eBay, as I'm trying to minimise my wardrobe and make it more "green"; any new purchases, where possible, will be organic/eco-friendly/vegan-friendly/recycled/Fair Trade. I'm really excited about this!
I had a chocolate assam tea and some mulberries in the afternoon and started watching the last series of Scott & Bailey. Dean was off to a friend's house for "nerd night", so I stayed home alone with a bottle of elderflower fizz and a chocolate bar all to myself. I made a quick pasta dish for dinner with salad and watched the last episode of Scott & Bailey, as there were only three in total. Sad that it's finished, it was a great show! I love a good British crime drama. Any others I should know about? To continue the theme, I binge-watched four episodes of Marcella.

Sunday started off pretty crap, as I was in a bad mood for the first half of the day. We had trouble deciding on a pub to eat at in the evening (for our early wedding anniversary celebration with our friends, Tracy and Alex), as many only serve carverys on a Sunday, have no food in the evening or are closed completely. Our original pick has unfortunately closed down! They had the best chips ever, so I hope whoever takes over can follow suit.
In the end, we chose The Crown Inn, Marnhull, which serves a Sunday carvery and a limited, but pretty generous, menu. I think there were four vegetarian options to choose from, which I thought was really good for a limited menu. The only thing I don't like about this pub is that you have to keep going up to the bar to order any drinks and your menu choices. I guess it saves on waiting staff... The pub itself is a lovely 16th century property, which features in Thomas Hardy's novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, and was actually a frequent haunt of his, also known as The Pure Drop Inn. The interior had some pretty little touches, such as candles in lanterns and fairy lights adorning the old beams. Tracy and I both chose the battered halloumi main, which came with chunky chips, mushy peas, salad and tartar sauce (which I gave to Tracy). It was delicious! Surprisingly, I'd never tried halloumi before. The chips were really good, too and the portion size was excellent. We also both went for the chocolate brownies with ice-cream for our dessert, which was pretty good. I had to take a photo of Dean's dessert - an impressive tower of berry pavlova! Afterwards, we went back to ours for a film and some drinks.

What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday weekend?

26 May 2016

The Weekly Wish List

1. DotComGiftShop Large Mid Century Poppy Shopper Bag, £3.95
This pretty shopper bag is made from recycled plastic bottles!
2. Uoga Uoga Special Agent 001 Mineral Concealer, £8.90/10ml
The nourishing concealer balm sounds awesome! I really need a concealer in my life.
3. Cebra Oblong Wooden Hairbrush, £12
I'm after a new (and eco-friendly) hairbrush. This oblong one has quite a narrow surface area, but I think it would be great for my current hair length. It has wooden bristles with a massaging effect which stimulates the hair folicle.
4. Dorset Tea Foraged Fruits Tea, £2.25/20 teabags
This fruity tea sounds lovely!

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

23 May 2016

Nicola Graimes' Top 100 Low-carb Recipes

The Top 100 Low-carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes*, £5.99

I was recently given the opportunity to review this little recipe book, written by Nicola Graimes. The book focuses on low-carb options; perfect for those on a diet or people who are just keen to reduce their intake of carbs! With recipes to suit all diets, there is something for everyone. I really like the handy size of the cookbook, as well as the colourful photographs.

As a vegetarian, I was a little limited as to which recipes I could make, and I did find that most recipes called for one or more ingredients that I wouldn't usually have stocked in my fridge or cupboard - this cookbook would be perfect for people who plan their meals in advance, ensuring you have all the ingredients required to hand.

I'd definitely say that the majority of the recipes seem really healthy and there is a focus on unrefined, slow-release carbohydrates, which is really good. I managed to find some time recently to try out a couple of the recipes. I think I'll pass it on to my meat-eating husband, so he can try some of the other recipes! A great feature in the book is that each recipe states the grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Roasted vegetables with pesto dressing
This was really simple to make and gave a new twist to our roasted vegetables. We really enjoyed this recipe! We are big pesto fans, so this is an ingredient we always have stocked in the fridge.
Soufflé Berry Omelette
This recipe can be found in the Breakfasts & Brunches section, but I would also class it as a dessert-style recipe, which is what we served it as. Luckily I had some frozen berries waiting to be used in the freezer, so I didn't need to buy anything specially to make this recipe. Unfortunately, we both thought it was awful. Even with a sprinkle of sugar on top, there was no sweetness to it and it just didn't work. Granted, I'm not good with cooking omelettes, pancakes e.t.c., so it didn't look up to much, but it just didn't work for us - the omelette base was too savoury.

If you are following a low-carb diet and want to cook quick, healthy dishes with lots of flavour and fresh ingredients, definitely check out this cookbook.

*items kindly sent for review purposes; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

21 May 2016

My Week In Pictures

On Monday, we decided to take a little trip to Highcliffe Beach, near Christchurch! We arrived early afternoon; it was a gorgeous, sunny and hot day and we sat on the beach eating and drinking some snacks we had brought along. Then we treated ourselves to a whippy ice-cream with a flake! The beach was fairly quiet and really lovely - I'd love to revisit.
We drove into Christchurch and had a look round the shops and walked around the quay. There were some lovely buildings and aesthetically-pleasing shop and restaurant fronts. We got ourselves some chips from one of the local chip shops on the way back to the car. We were detoured on the drive back home, but saw some nice scenery. We relaxed and watched an episode of 11.22.63 in the evening.

My friend, Tracy, and I took a little trip to The Udder Farm Shop in East Stour, Dorset in the morning. Neither of us had visited before and it was lovely to browse the local brands available in the shop. The country-style interior was lovely and there was a great selection of local produce, eco-friendly products and free from groceries.
I picked up a little selection of sweet treats. We popped into the café and I had an iced coffee and a huge slab of homemade caramel shortbread, while Tracy enjoyed a cappucino and a slice of carrot cake. The views from the café of open fields and the surrounding countryside was just lovely. We had a little stroll around the area, but didn't find any walking routes.
When I got home, I spent some time catching up with housework and laundry, then caught up on Coronation Street, while trying my new tea, which was delicious! Our friend came round in the evening to watch Game of Thrones with us. I had BBQ pasta with red onion, grated raw carrot and vegan cheese for dinner. I had a lovely, hot bubble bath afterwards. We later watched Modern Family and Family Guy.

On Wednesday morning I received an unexpected, but promising phone call, which saw my friend and I make an impromptu visit to Shaftesbury in the afternoon, where we located a certain place of business and then had a quick look round the shops. I did some housework when I got home and caught up on Eastenders. I enjoyed a skinny latte and a few rose cremes. We had vegetarian sausages, green beans and mustard and garlic mash for dinner and watched a few episodes of Gotham. I placed a couple of online orders for some new beauty items.

I had a quick property inspection in the morning, then I played some Rise of the Tomb Raider for a while. After lunch, I watched Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners and caught up on blogging. Then I decided to tackle cleaning the shower screen in the bathroom. It took hours and was so tedious, but it looks a lot better! For dinner, I had an aromatic sweet potato Thai bake (Dean had Hunter's chicken) with cauliflower rice and roasted vegetables with a pesto dressing. It was lovely! We watched more Gotham in the evening.

I spent the morning getting ready and making myself look smart and presentable - I had my first job interview in over six years at 11:30am (hence the promising phone call on Wednesday)! I was really nervous, but the interviewers (there were two of them) were lovely and it seemed like a place I'd have fun working at. The job role is an administrator within a property lettings agency with career progression a promising possibility. It sounds great for me and I have everything crossed in the hopes of landing a second interview! If anything, it's good practice for any future interviews. I was really happy with myself afterwards, as I felt I'd done and said everything I could to make it a successful interview. Hopefully I won't have to wait too long to hear back from them.
When I got home, I did some housework and laundry, before sitting down to write up some blog posts. I also received a parcel containing a couple of new beauty purchases. My friend, Tracy, came over after she'd finished work at 2pm for a catch up. We went for a walk down to the old flour mill, too - it was surprisingly warm! When I got home, I caught up on some blog reading and then did some actual reading - of the book variety. I really didn't have anything planned for dinner, so when Dean suggested a Chinese take-away, how was I to resist?! It was so damn good. We watched Attack On Titan and then I went to bed for a couple of hours before heading off to work for midnight.

How was your week?

18 May 2016

The Weekly Wish List

1. MOSSA Youth Defense Cleansing Creme Mousse, £10/200ml
This cleanser sounds really lovely and I've never tried a mousse formula before!
2. Sirjes Craft Shop Cork Make-up Bag, £16.99
I'm beginning to think more about eco-friendly fashion choices and have been looking at cork products. I love this colourful make-up bag!
3. Transomnia Retro Illuminated Love Sign, £25.95
I've been after an LED light for our home for ages and I really love this one. It would look great on the windowsill in our bedroom.
4. Handmade Naturals Tanning Cream, £12/100ml
I love this brand and am quite intrigued by this product. I'm a fake tan newbie, but this sounds promising!
5. Fairsquared Vanilla Shower Gel, £8.95/250ml
I can imagine this smells amazing! Another lovely brand.
6. Clipper Organic White Tea with Vanilla, £5.70/26 teabags
I've never tried white tea and this one with added vanilla sounds very pleasant.

What's at the top of your wish list this week?

16 May 2016

My Weekend In Pictures

I got up at 3pm, after working the previous night. I tried Clipper's raspberry leaf tea and had a snack. I read my current book for a while, then had a shower. We had Montery Jack BBQ bean burgers for dinner, which were really good! In the evening, we went to see Bad Neighbors 2 at the cinema with some friends. We got back pretty late, so off to bed it was!

I got up quite early and spent ages window shopping online. After showering and moping around for a while, I cleaned the carpet, baked vegan banana bread granola and vegan chocolate muffins. We had the in-laws round for dinner and Dean made curry. We watched The Good Dinosaur.

I enjoyed my banana bread granola with soya yoghurt and fresh strawberries for breakfast. I pretty much spent most of the day cleaning and tidying and setting up snacks for the early evening start of a games night with friends. I made Nutella-centred cookies that turned out huge and delicious! We played Harry Potter  trivial pursuit, Cards Against Humanity and Werewolf, then we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I was super tired by the end of it and glad to climb into bed!

How was your weekend?

12 May 2016

Botanicals Rose & Camellia Cleansing Melt

Botanicals Rose & Camellia Cleansing Melt*, £19.95/55g

I've recently been trying out this lovely balm cleanser, handmade in rural England, from natural and Soil Association certified organic beauty brand, Botanicals. Housed in a recyclable glass jar, with pretty pink labelling and nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, rose flower oil, lavender flower oil and green tea extract, this is a real pleasure to use. The key ingredient throughout the rose & camellia range is green tea extract; it's full of antioxidants, vitamins and polyphenols, which provide anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing benefits, as well as protecting your skin from harsh environmental factors.
The balm has a semi-solid formula which melts upon contact with skin and the scent is subtle and pleasant. This cleansing melt feels really luxurious when applying to my skin and it really does melt away all of my make-up and grime from the day. I use a damp, hot cloth to remove the balm, which helps to open and clear pores. I've really missed having a balm cleanser in my skincare routine recently and can't see myself being without one again!

Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, glycerine***, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil,* decyl glucoside, cocos nucifero (coconut) oil*, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract*, tocopherol, zea mays seed flour*, parfum*; rosa centifolia (rose) flower oil* pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, cymbopogon martinii flower oil*, cananga odorata flower oil*, geraniol**, citronellol**, benzyl benzoate**, linalool**, limonene**, citral**, farnesol**. (*Certified organic. **Natural constituents of essential oils. ***Organic origin.)

Have you tried anything from Botanicals?

*items kindly sent for review purposes; all thoughts and opinions are, and always will be, my own.