Autumn is here

Tough Choices Deer or Horse scarf?

Tough Choices
Deer or Horse scarf?

It’s September, and that typically means colder weather, warmer clothes, comfort foods and hot drinks. I LOVE autumn, the colors, the weather (mostly) and definitely the clothes. It’s not quite cold enough to break out the woolies yet, but the cooler mornings have had me reaching for my thin-ish jackets and scarves. And my collection of boots will shortly be making an appearance as well (I freakin’ adore my boots collection).
Today I’m making Scouse for dinner, the ultimate comfort/cold weather food even though it’s not that cold yet. I’ll let you know how it goes, I’ve made enough to eat it all week😉 At work we have a staff canteen, but from today it will only be open for breakfast and since I NEED a warm meal for lunch I’ve been planning a lot of soups and stews for the next few weeks/months to keep me happy.

Want to see more autumn stuff that makes me happy, check out my Pinterest board.

Introducing – The Friday Five

I used to have a feature on my old blog called “Thursday Three” where every Thursday I’d feature three things, sometimes they’d be related, but mostly it would just be three random things on my mind at that time. By the way, I should probably fess up to being terrible at posting these three things every Thursday, I’m pretty sure the posts were few and far between (as always).
I wanted to do something similar for this blog, not the terrible posting schedule, but the actual having a plan for posting something. I’ve decided I want to do it on Fridays instead though, as a sort of round-up before the weekend, and I’ve expanded the idea to cover five things instead of three. My aim is to do this every week, but anyone who knows me should be aware of my flaking potential by now so we’ll see how it goes.

1. Summer Time Reading

limits of power a perfect bloodloving rose

Lost_Lake_cover630x354-620x350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the best things about summer is lying out in the garden, on the beach or in the park reading a book while soaking up the sun. This summer I want to be reading Sarah Addison Allen’s Lost Lake, Stephanie Laurens’ Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair , Elizabeth Moon’s Limits of Power and Kim Harrison’s A Perfect Blood. The first two are new, out this year, the latter two I’ve had on my bookshelf for a while now, I’ve just been putting off reading them. My reason? They are both part of series and I know one is very close to ending (in fact the next and last book in the series is already out) and the other one feels like it is ending soon, and I guess I just want to prolong the fun.

2. Garden tent/teepee

selena lake garden tent

I was having a look through Prima Makes Issue 4 earlier this week. It features lots of summer makes and ideas, and amongst other things I totally fell for the garden tent/teepee they featured (on page 98 if you have access to the magazine). It’s from the latest Selina Lake book Outdoor Living, and I just need it. I can just imagine lying in the garden in my little tent reading a book or just snoozing without being completely exposed to the sunshine. The Selina Lake one looks too nice to be for kids so I assume it would be fine for a grown up to just make one for herself right🙂 I’ll be scouring the charity shops for old table cloths and bedsheets for the next week, and I already have the poles, just need to clean them up a bit.

3. Mint Lemonade

Mint Lemonade - Ready to drink

Mint Lemonade – Ready to drink

Ok, blowing my own trumpet a bit here. Last week I shared a recipe for making this amazing Mint Lemonade, and since then I’ve probably made it 3 or 4 times. I did take the advice from The Kitchn regarding making up a large batch of simple syrup to keep in the fridge, it definitely simplified the making process, not to mention cut down on the prep time. Win Win really. It’s so refreshing and it’s made me drink less coke and other carbonated soda. It’s probably no healthier than soda calorie wise, but at least I know it’s all natural ingredients. In addition whenever I do drink coke I always want more, it never quenches your thirst, my mint lemonade on the other hand is definitely thirst quenching.

4.GOMI – Get Off My Internets

GOMI

I recently discovered GOMI via some indignant uproar in another forum I’m a member of. Basically GOMI is the online home of website/blog social media snark, if you are a well know blogger, instagrammer, twitterer(?) and you do or say stupid, annoying things chances are your names will come up there and the wolves will descend. I’d say about 90% of the threads on the forum are valid, maybe even more, but they don’t always get it right. Some of the post there have clearly been written by people who are jealous of the person in question, and their attacks are generally quite shallow (to do with looks etc rather than actual blog content). I recently found a few new MUST READ blogs this way (and no I do not mean hate reads), so I guess what I’m saying is: “Thank you GOMI for pointing out some great new blogs for me”. I admit I also like reading the snark for sites that deserve it, and I can’t imagine the owners of those sites are too pissed off at being mentioned to on GOMI, after all a page-view is a page-view.

5. The Freckled Fox

The Freckled Fox is one of the new blogs I found through GOMI. Basically someone started a subject about the blog because they thought she didn’t smile enough on her pictures, and her hair was a weird colour. Seriously?! First of all, Emily from The Freckled Fox is beautiful and I LOVE her hair. I also realized that I’ve seen her before, I’ve looked at her many amazing hair tutorials on Pinterest. I have serious hair envy here:/ As for the no smiling, I guess in older pictures she didn’t do much of it, but from all the pictures I’ve seen recently she looks amazing. Enough of the shallow stuff though, the blog is the important thing. And it’s brilliant; such a great variety of posts, a great mix of fashion, beauty, travel, family life, food, crafts, you name it. It’s one of the few blogs I’ve found that actually deserves the title Lifestyle blog. But don’t take my word for it, you should definitely check out Emily’s blog yourself.

Do you have anything you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments, I love having my horizons broadened.

blog sig

 

Homemade Mint Lemonade – Don’t just Pin it, Do it Tuesday

Mint Lemonade recipe
Finally the time has come for Wikkid Woman’s inaugural “Don’t Just Pin it, Do it Tuesday”. I thought long and hard about which of my pinterest inspired makes would make it’s appearance here, and I actually had something completely different written up and ready to go, but then pinspiration inspiration struck, and here we are with a brand new make and brand new post.

Most of what I pin and do on Pinterest is craft/diy related, so it’s something of a surprise to me that the first thing I share with you all is a recipe. For a drink. But not an alcoholic one, although I suppose you could easily make it alcoholic. Yes, I’m definitely going to try to add something a bit naughty to it soon.

For today though I present the entirely innocent and thirst quenching Mint Lemonade .

Tangy and refreshing

Tangy and refreshing


I first tried and became addicted to mint lemonade when hubs and I were living in Abu Dhabi. I imagine every single cafe there must sell them, it’s very much a Middle Eastern thing, but sadly I haven’t come across it in the UK (although I imagine they would have it at Lebanese or other Middle Eastern restaurants, I just haven’t looked). A while back I looked for recipes for it on pinterest, but they all looked so time consuming and complicated so I just kept putting it off. Which brings us to this morning when I was at the shop and found a couple of nets of lemons in the reduced section, of course that old hankering for mint lemonade resurfaced.

Once I got home with my lemons and a couple of bunches of mint I looked up my food filled pinterest board, the aptly named Yummy Yummy

Let me just say, there is a lot of unhealthy (but oh so yummy looking) food there.

I decided to combine two recipes for the lemonade, as there where things I liked about both. These are the two recipes I used
Freshly Minted Lemonade @ The Runaway Spoon and Mint-Lemonade @ Taste of Beirut.
The first recipe tells you to infuse your syrup with lemon peel and mint, which sounded like it would add wonderful flavour, so I certainly wanted to do that. This lemonade did not have a lot of mint in it though, mostly it look like normal lemonade with a little bit of mint in it, while the mint lemonade I was used to was decidedly more green in colour. Enter recipe two, definitely more green and minty. I also preferred the sugar to water ratio in recipe two, with was 1:2 as opposed to 1:1 in the first recipe. Does all that sound a little confusing? Fear not, here is the recipe the way I made it.

Ingredients:
6 Lemons (these game me 14 1/2 tbsp of juice)
8 tbsp of Granulated Sugar
16 tbsp of water
30 g of fresh mint
700-800ml of water (for diluting)

1. First I peeled one of the lemons and chopped up about 4 springs of mint. I then added the sugar and the 16 tbsp of water to a pan and brought it to the boil, adding the lemon peel and chopped mint. Make sure to stir so the sugar dissolves, once it is completely dissolved you can take the pan of the heat. Set it aside to cool and let the lemon and mint infuse into the syrup.

Time to let the mint and lemon infuse

Time to let the mint and lemon infuse

2. Juice your lemons. I rolled them on my cutting board, pressing down. You just cut the lemon in half, hold it in one hand, push the fork into the center and twist. You do end up with a lot of pulp and seeds this way, but they are easy enough to strain away later.

Lemon Juice and Mint, ready for action

Lemon Juice and Mint, ready for action

3. I then strained the juice into my blender and then the syrup (make sure to really squeeze the juice out of the mint leaves and lemon peel from the syrup.). I then added the rest of my mint leaves and about 300 ml of water. Let the blender run until the mint is all chopped up and then add more water until you get the taste you want. If you plan on serving over ice you don’t have to dilute completely as the ice will help with this as well.

About to add some more mint to the mix

About to add some more mint to the mix

Once you are happy with your lemonade it’s ready to serve, pour into the eagerly waiting glasses or a jug so people can help themselves.

Mint Lemonade - Ready to drink

Mint Lemonade – Ready to drink

I hope I’ve tempted you to try some yourself, you won’t be disappointed. And I found a great tip over at Kitchn for how to cut the prep time a little; just make up a big batch of the syrup (sugar and water) as it will keep in the fridge for a long time.

I’m sharing this post over at The Winthrop Chronicles Share it Link Party #125, why don’t you head on over there to see what everyone else have been doing.

Blouse to Kimono DIY

Blouse to Kimono DIY

Blouse to Kimono DIY

I LOVE the kimono style jackets that are so on trend right now, in fact I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to them.

Unfortunately I rarely find any kimonos I like in the actual shops, so most of my time is spent drooling over ones I can’t even get my hands on, so sad😦

So what’s a girl to do if she can’t get a hold of the clothes she wants? Well she could try to make them. Sewing a garment from scratch is still pretty daunting to me though, instead I thought I’d refashion a top I bought a couple of years ago. I love the top, it’s got a great print and the fabric is lovely, but it doesn’t fit comfortably anymore (my yo-yo weightloss/gain is ridiculous), so it was either give it away or refashion it into something useable.

A lovely top even before the refashion

Shows the great draping, but lighting is not so great

A lovely top even before the refashion

Better lighting, shows the great colors and print

It was a fairly easy refashion, the V-neck of the blouse had 3 buttons at the bottom, so after unbuttoning I just cut the fabric straight down from the V. I then ironed the hems on each side and got my machine out to sew the hems.

Can I just take a minute to apologise to my poor abused sewing machine, it rarely gets used and is really dusty, I definitely need to treat her better and I promise I will. Also I will make sure I never yell at her again when I’m the one who threaded it wrong😦

But yeah, after running the hems through the machine I was done, it was that simple. I didn’t manage to get a good picture of me wearing it though, I’m not very good at selfies.

Refashion Complete

Again a great picture to showcase the draping

Refashion Complete

but this one shows the color so much better

I’ll try to get some nice pictures of me wearing it soon, hubs can play paparazzi🙂

If you want to see some amazing kimonos, check out my Kimono inspiration board on Pinterest

Has anyone else tried a kimono refashion, or even made one from scratch? I’d love to see them!

I hate the Kindle, Yes I do

Would you like to know why? I’ll tell you why.

My car and I recently parted ways (she was just too high maintenance), and as a consequence I had to go back to relying on public transport. I’m not a fan of public transport, it’s too slow and too full of people with questionable personal hygiene, but I have to get to work so for right now it’s a necessary evil.

To make my journeys to and from work bearable I either put my headphones on and stare out the window or people watch. I love people watching, seeing how people act in public, react to certain situations or even how they can escape into their own little world while chaos erupts around them. I love seeing which newspaper people are reading (here in the UK at least it will tell you so much about the person reading it) and of course I LOVE seeing which books people are reading. Except now I can’t!

I don’t know which books are being read because people are sitting there with stupid leather book covers housing even stupider electronic devices. Urgh, the Kindle. Bane of my existence.

Yes, thank you. I’m fully aware that it’s a really selfish and irrational reason to hate something, but come on, amazon are clearly trying to ruin my life (or at least 2 hours of it, 5 days a week). How on earth am I supposed to profile the person sitting in front of me on the bus now, the older looking lady sitting in front could be reading the latest best-selling biography or the newest 50 Shades of filth, but now I’ll never know. And I really, really want to know.
Because if eyes are the windows to your soul, then what you read (be it books, newspapers, comics or magazines) is the door to your personality. When I people watch I do it to link characters I’ve created in my mind with real people and see if their responses match up, it doesn’t always work of course, but it’s fun all the same.

But now amazon has ruined part of the fun for me. Or have they?

Ok, this is where my post goes from being an irrational rant about Kindle and my passion for people watching to my somewhat creepy foray into people stalking (sort of). Please don’t judge me to harshly.
Earlier this week I was on my way home from work, I have to get two buses and on the first one was a middle aged lady reading a book, on her Kindle *cue teeth grinding by yours truly*. I decided to ignore her (hey, if she wanted to be analyzed by me she should have brought a paperback), and watched some other people instead. Except Kindle lady was really fascinating, her eye did not move from her Kindle, no matter what was going on on the bus. I mean I can get in to my books as well, emerging 5 hours later wondering where my afternoon went, but if I’m on a bus and a woman (I’d call her a mum but the following scenario is not particularly mum-like in my opinion) is shouting at her 5 year old kid, telling him she is going to smack him till he’s blue unless

“you sit down and shut the fuck up!”

then I would probably look up. I mean I was listening to music and I still heard it all. But not this lady, nope, eyes remained fixed on Kindle.

Then we got into town where I had to change buses, and Kindle lady quickly stowed her Kindle in her bag, got off, sat down at the nearest bench and pulled her book out again. At this point my need to know what she was reading was becoming unbearable, I HATE not knowing things.

5 minutes later my bus arrivd and it just happened to be Kindle lady’s bus as well. In the moment when I realized she was getting on the same bus as me I made a snap-second decision, I let her get on first and then I sat down behind her. My evil master plan was coming together, she got her Kindle out again and I started reading over her shoulder. Luckily for me there were some pretty unusual names on the page and I quickly entered a few of them in to Google. How can you not love Google, how did we even survive in a world without Google?

Sorry about the blurry picture, I was trying to be covert

Sorry about the blurry picture, I was trying to be covert

Ok, back to the issue at hand, Google came through as always. Kindle lady was reading Avion – Book One of the Crystal Rose Chronicles. It’s actually free in the Kindle store so I downloaded it, because I just had to experience the book that had this lady so engrossed.
Well, I don’t get it. I only made it about 20% into the book and I had to give up, the spelling mistakes and grammar issues were driving me demented. This is why I generally don’t buy self published books, very few people seem to take the time to perfect their novels, some of them read like first drafts and some of them should have never made it to first draft. This book wasn’t actually bad, but the story did not grip me enough to overcome the mistakes, if your not that fussed then you should give it a go if you like romantic fantasy type stuff (which I generally do). But I digress, again.

Back to the Kindle, I can’t do this kind of people stalking every time I want to know what people are reading on their Kindles, it’s a little bit too creepy. Which is why they should probably be banned, at least on my two buses in Basingstoke. Is everyone in agreement? Would you like me to post a petition?

Welcome to the revolution!

Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist – A must have

A while back I joined BzzAgent, a site where you fill in surveys and based on your answers you might get asked to try out and review various products at no charge. A month ago I was asked to review Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist for free.
Here is what the company say about their product:

What can Eye Revive Moisture Mist do for me?

Modern lifestyles – computer screens, air-conditioning and central heating – can make our eyes drier, leaving them feeling tired and sore. Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist has been designed to care for tired eyes so they can feel good again. The convenient mist-on format can be sprayed over closed eyes any time of the day, even over make-up.

How does it work?

Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist works both in the eyes and around the eyes:

Sprayed over closed eyes, the hydrating liposomes stabilize the lipid layer of the tear film restoring your eyes’ natural moisture barrier so they feel comfortable and soothed
The spray contains pro-vitamin B5 and is clinically proven to moisturise the skin around your eyes

Safe for use with contact lenses
Will not smudge eye make-up
Suitable for everyday use
Can be used up to 6 months after first opening

And here is what I say about their product:

My issues with my eyes are not bad, they are a little sensitive and can get a bit dry, but it’s not chronic so it’s never really bothered me. I was very eager to try Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist though, to see what effect it would have if any. The bottle was a great size, no problem fitting it into my handbag or even a small clutch. The packaging reminded me of Durex condom box, however since I had no intention of keeping it in the box this was a non-issue. My eyes are usually at their worst in the morning after I’ve applied my make-up, after work (think it must have something to do with the bright lighting) and in the evening before bedtime, so I made a point out of spritzing my eyes at these times. It worked amazingly, my eyes felt refreshed and moisturized without feeling wet (I have previously had issues with my eyes just constantly leaking). The spray is wet on and around your eye for only a moment before soaking in to the skin and eye. There was no smell to it and no negative reaction at all. And my make-up remained completely unsmudged. I don’t actually wear much make-up during the day so I did want to try it out when I was more heavily made up. I got the chance on a girls night out, I first spritzed my eyes after the make-up was done, not a smudge. Then throughout the evening I continued to use Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist, and my make-up stayed on without a problem. At the end of the night my make-up was no more smudged then it would normally be after a night out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been using the spray more frequently, hayfever season is upon us. The spray has been a god send, for both me and my husband. I would wholeheartedly recommend this product to everyone I know, it’s worked wonders for me and I don’t know what I’d do without it now.

You can buy Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist in both Boots and Tesco, but it will be in the beauty section, not the pharmacy section.
Optrex Eye Revive Moisture Mist

#100HappyDays

Two weeks ago I started a journey to embrace the good in every day, instagramming the things that make me happy. Today is Day 15, 15 out of 100, and let me tell you it’s really hard to find a picture to post everyday. I could easily write something every day, but I’m not great at taking pictures so it’s a bit of a scramble some times.

Today for example I could have been happy for the lovely weather which made it possible to hang the laundry outside (I LOVE drying my clothes outside, they smell so much nicer), but alas no picture. I could also showcase how happy I am that I managed to do some car fixing today (getting the old girl ready for her MOT, she’ll probably still fail, but at least I made an effort). But yeah, no pictures of a greasy stained moi. At the very least you could have had a picture of me enjoying a relaxing day off in this beautiful weather, but again, no picture. I really need to get my act together and start taking more of them.

So what did I end up with for my Day 15 picture of happiness? A selection of some of the people who make me happy, I found some baby pictures the other day, they not only featured me but also some of my nearest and dearest. Enjoy!

Things that make me happy – Day 15 – A couple of days ago I found an envelope with some of my baby pictures and going through them today I found some great ones of me and my family. Seeing pictures of my family definitely make me happy🙂