Lifestyle: Taco Tuesdays (on a Saturday…)

A trip into London can only mean one thing for me and W – time to gorge ourselves at Wahaca. I’ve reviewed it a while back, but I managed to get some pretty good photos this time round. I’ve also found my favourite restaurant – I love the Charlotte Street branch as it’s so light and airy, and the staff seem like they genuinely love their job. The Covent Garden one just seems a bit dark now, and the last time I went the food was a bit heavy and the service rushed. Charlotte Street definitely offers a buzz, but friendly and relaxing service too. AND the best cocktails. Just be sure not to sit under the plants or you may get wet…

 photo c79efcaf-dfe7-4ea6-83be-031f9c95217f_zpswhfmsoqr.jpg photo f25f167a-1d3b-4ac7-bd67-833fc44f48b1_zpsptvnaqen.jpgI couldn’t resist my favourites, Frijoles with Tortilla Chips. I could live off Frijoles, they are amazing. Thick, creamy, full of flavour, tangy cheese, sharp crema. I’ll take a fork to the pot when the chips run out.

 photo b66458f9-d74a-4ce0-b8b9-9bbac06532da_zps3lioogaj.jpgAnother must-order is the Pork Pilbil tacos. I still can’t believe the spicy, juicy pork is tomato free. Topped with spicy pickled onions, and spread with some frijoles, these are heavy in a few (messy) bites.

 photo 9783de3d-592b-4d3a-9b70-592d580bf5ce_zpscymgyofa.jpg photo f9006f6c-79fe-4868-b2ae-6dc1414085da_zpsv6fkssqm.jpgI’ve also fallen quite hard for the new Chicken Pipian tacos. Made with a tomatillo sauce, these are completely different from anything on the menu. They are quite subtle, and I do feel like they need a good squeeze of lime juice, but they are so delicious. Soft chicken, a mild nutty sauce and some crunchy cabbage – they are refreshing in-between spicier dishes.

I stuck to just these tacos this time (W went for a burrito, leaving me to try and not order alllll the street food) as I wanted churros (picture above taken from Wahaca’s site). Word of advice, ask for caramel rather than chocolate sauce. It’s so much better.

I adore Mexican food, it’s just perfect for my need for spiciness, finger food and different textures. Have you been to Wahaca before?

Recipe: #PerfectPorridge, Three Ways

Porridge is my go-to breakfast pretty much all year round. It’s often the only thing I can stomach before leaving the house, and it’s one of the only things that fills me up more than an hour or two. I was challenged by Flav Oats to come up with some perfect porridge, so I’ve enjoyed playing around with flavours and toppings.

 photo f16e134c-0a0b-49b0-b9f0-58647aeb7633_zpsp8a9lcvl.jpgBut first, how to make the perfect porridge? I make mine in the microwave on a weekday and I’ve finally perfected it. You need decent oats, not basics ones – they turn into mush. Take a wide bowl and cover the base with oats. Add cold water, about a centimetre over the oats. Microwave on full for 90 seconds. Take out, beat with a fork and add a little milk and sugar if needed. Microwave for another 30 seconds, stir well, add toppings, and eat.

 photo 1afaeb31-b803-40f8-bc51-8157b5cf39ec_zpsojhbf1sc.jpgNow the fun part, toppings. My usual is half a mashed banana (I add it instead of sugar, before the final blitz in the microwave), cinnamon and a scattering of flaked almonds. I’d never say no to a dollop of nutella, but I also love a swirl of peanut butter. Grated dark chocolate doesn’t go amiss – and one of the best porridges I’ve had was at Hula, with a dark chocolate and chilli sauce I’m desperate to recreate. I’ve also been getting inventive;
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Bounty Porridge

A small spoon of coconut oil, a scattering of coconut, and a little dark chocolate – this is a tropical treat that was as comforting as it was delicious.

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds

Admittedly, I forgot to photograph this. Typical as it was the easiest one in the morning! But I enjoyed this, and can’t wait until the weather warms up so I can make it more. I have a feeling this would be great with berries, or for a treat – hazelnut milk and nutella. Yum!
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Porridge of Childhood

Something I rarely buy is golden syrup, but after swiping a bit from home I’m definitely missing out. I made a really creamy porridge with a little more milk than usual and added a good spoon of this. Sickly sweet, it took me back to being five years old.

 photo decc8f24-69ff-4571-9363-a8d68e030051_zpsmquajgaq.jpgDisclaimer – I was sent some oats, toppings and other goodies in exchange for posts all about porridge. No money exchanged hands and all opinions are my own.

I’m assuming you’ve got the message that I love porridge! What’s your go-to breakfast?

Lifestyle: The A-Z of Me (#2)

I had such a lovely response to the first part of this post, I couldn’t wait to get the second installment up!

 photo What Makes Me_zpsncl6cmkv.pngN – Nose

I had a relatively intensive nose operation in Summer 2013 to correct it’s deformed shape and stop me having constant severe sinus infections. The result is a slightly different nose shape and virtually no colds – but the recovery was pretty horrendous. I genuinely can’t see why someone would have their nose done for cosmetic reasons as it was complete agony for weeks.

O – Obviously

I am of the generation that was the perfect age for both Busted and McFly. I love McFly – although their early stuff is so much better. Obviously and All About You are some of my favourite songs even now. I’m hoping to have tickets to see McBusted at a local festival, seeing as I missed out on their tour.

P – Pigeons

I hate the things. I swear the ones in my current town make it their mission to just miss my head each morning.

Q – Quiet

I’m quite a quiet person until I feel really comfortable with people – and that can take a long time. It’s only in the past month I’ve felt able to be myself at work, despite loving it and my team, just because I’m worried people will judge me. Perhaps a resolution for this year should be to be more outgoing?!

 photo 47e5802c-e5ba-4d87-bc53-318aa387807e_zpslrr7dulz.jpgR – Reading

I adore reading, always have. I’d much sooner have my head in a book than watch TV. I love books a little like Jody Picoult’s – though I find hers to be a little predictable. I’ve recently read a few that I just literally couldn’t put down.

S – Switzerland

W’s parents generously took me to Switzerland with them after our A-Level exams and I fell in love with the country. It’s absolutely beautiful, so much to see and do, and you could quite literally sunbathe by the lakes and play in the snow in the mountains on the same day. The day we went to the Jungfrau there was a blizzard on top, and I got sunburnt in the valley.

 photo 2015-02-15 18.30.16_zpsnc4llb2f.jpgT – Tee-J

My gorgeous dog. We adopted him at the age of 13 months way back in 2007, and he was completely and utterly terrifying! Whilst not aggressive in any way, he hadn’t been trained at all. He would playbite (with a full set of adult teeth), and could jump from sitting onto anything. Including the dining room table. He’s calmed down a lot now, we wouldn’t be without him!

 photo 2015-01-24 11.59.31_zpsici62gs8.jpgU – Underwear

Slightly embarrassing, slightly personal. But I do love underwear – a pretty set makes all the difference. Finding out Topshop stock my size was call for a celebration. And a few purchases!

V – Valentine’s

I’m not sure I totally see the point of Valentine’s – I don’t want or need a day to tell W I love him, and I damn well hope he doesn’t either! But it is nice to have a soppy card and a little gift. And a day in the kitchen together!

 photo ArthursSeat1_zps1e89b3f7.jpgW – William

Obviously! I met Will at the start of sixth form, being in his PE, Chemistry and Maths classes. I was failing Chemistry, he was clever and offered to tutor me – and we were together about three weeks into term! I haven’t looked back since…

X – X-Rays

I’ve had an extraordinary amount of x-rays considering I’ve never actually broken anything. I had severe growing pains as a child so was x-rayed to check everything was in place (it was). I got hit by a pushbike and damaged by arm – turns out it was whiplash in my arm. I’ve had my intestines x-rayed as apparently it’s quite useful according to my gastro-consultant. I couldn’t see a lot to be fair. And I had multiple of my face when getting braces and having my nose done (see N).

Y – Yachts

I love the sea, I love swimming in it or being on a boat. So I desperately want my own yacht. I think I’d suit one too… #PrRequest

 photo Meerkat1_zpsfa7467ac.jpgZ – Zoo

Perhaps an obvious choice, but I LOVE zoos. I want to hate them as I don’t like the thought of animals being caged up…so I make a point of visiting ‘nice’ zoos that do a lot of conservation work. My dream is to go on a safari, but I think that’s a long way off right now!

Hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a little more about me! What kind of posts would you like more of here?

Beauty: At Home Facial with A REN Dupe

I rarely stray from my skincare staples and if I do, it’s never, ever unresearched. I have products I have used for years which I thoroughly rely on, and any additions are subject to hours of googling. I never go and browse skincare aisles, I’d never pick something up without reading tens of blog posts first. But somehow I picked up this tube way back in January. My face was suffering from a combination of a new consultant-enforced diet and Christmas excess, it was dull and I was fed up.

 photo b8fea30a-d34b-4600-b811-a73f47f34116_zpsy4lh3fnj.jpgTurns out picking something up on a whim isn’t always a bad thing!

 photo d864e3ee-a829-4e35-88df-7b2bee8190a5_zps7rni65hb.jpgThe B. Revealed Glycolic Cleanser has become a staple. I wouldn’t use this as a cleanser, as the box seems to suggest, as I’m not convinced it could cope with makeup or daily grime. I reckon it could also be a bit harsh to use more often than weekly, whilst there’s no noticeable stinging I do feel my face is slightly inflamed and sore for a few hours after use. But it’s worth it! A thin layer smoothed over dry, clean skin, gently washed off after three minutes, doesn’t give instant results. It’s the next morning when, after my first cup of tea, I take note of what’s looking out of the mirror at me. Skin that looks as fresh as can be, a real glow, any dullness banished. Whilst it doesn’t really help clear up spots, I feel does unclog the pores on my nose slightly.

 photo 9972d073-425d-4de6-a79d-a98d5d63d1f6_zpsfxs92ers.jpgIt’s not a miracle worker, not by any means. Effects aren’t particularly long-lasting, but they are there. It would be the perfect mask to use the night before a day out, and using weekly has kept my skin looking pretty healthy recently. I’ve been alternating using this with the cult REN Glycolic Radiance Renewal mask and the verdict? The REN version smells nicer, and is a lot more of a treat to use. But the results are indistinguishable, and the price different not insignificant – the B. version is £8 a tube, but virtually always half price. And I’d choose it anyday, more pennies for lipsticks!

Have you tried any B. skincare? I’m currently looking for an oil or serum suitable for sensitive dehydrated skin, so send recommendations my way!

Lifestyle: Lunch at the Black Horse, Market Bosworth

I grew up very close to Market Bosworth, childhood weekends spent wandering round the Battlefield were plentiful. Though I far preferred the country park on the other side of Market Bosworth. A proper wooden playground, a circular walk with plenty to see, fields to play football on. Bliss. Apart from when you have a dog that stampedes through people’s picnics stealing food…

I headed back to the lovely village of Market Bosworth last weekend, back to a pub that brings back some lovely (if slightly painful) memories. The Black Horse is one of the nicer pubs in an area which is if I’m honest lacking in decent food. The restaurant itself is lovely, all shabby chic and little rooms, a maximum of about 15 people in each area. Be warned though, there’s some very low beams and ceilings!

 photo 2015-03-15 14.26.15_zpsoqjga0lr.jpg photo 2015-03-15 14.26.25_zpsf1xtscog.jpgI had what has to be one of the best starters I’ve ever eaten. A Mushroom and Stilton bruschetta served with a Pesto, this was really substantial. Mushrooms cooked to absolute perfection, juicy and nutty, just a teeny bite from the stilton. The pesto wasn’t as flavourful as it looked, but everything complemented everything. Just delicious. And I didn’t have to share – W hates mushrooms, mum hates cheese. The others had a Chicken Liver Parfait which was raved over, apparently exceptionally smooth. Clean plates all round.

 photo 2015-03-15 14.27.17_zpssfbezqrd.jpgI was a teensy bit disappointed with the choice for the mains – last time I ate the menu was far more exciting and adventurous, here we were limited to the standard Sunday roasts. My lamb was okay – tender, tasty, I enjoyed it. I was just hoping for something a little more. Bowls of veg were some of the better ones I’ve had, everything perfectly cooked.

 photo 2015-03-15 15.26.40_zps29ti3mc0.jpg photo 2015-03-15 15.26.28_zpsjkn8sp5o.jpgPuddings came, and the menu picked up again. I’m not usually a pudding person, but I could have happily eaten four or five things here. After much deliberating I went for a Cappuccino Panna Cotta, with Bailey’s ice-cream, with the agreement that I could try some of mum’s (White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake) and Will’s (Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Torte). I have to say I think I picked a winner – the panna cotta was absolutely delicious. I personally wouldn’t have paired it with ice-cream. Both were yummy, but I’d have liked some crunch! W’s tart was very rich, very chocolatey, and perhaps lacking in Peanut Butter.

 photo 2015-03-15 15.26.52_zpso4htvp7b.jpgA quick wander around the village, we retreated back so I could lie down and recover. The biggest meal I’d eaten since January, and it definitely showed! No more three courses for me…

Have you been out for a meal lately?

Careers: Writing That Perfect CV

I might not have a graduate job yet (I am dreading starting to apply come September) but having received two offers for a year’s placement I think I’m well enough qualified to give some kind of career advice. I’ll be doing a few posts, generally following the order in which most application processes go…so first up is CV tips!
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Make it Priority

Keep your CV updated at all times, even if you’re not actively looking for roles. You never know when the perfect opportunity will come up, and when it does you don’t want to waste time making big changes on your CV. Every time you get a new job, learn a new skill, gain a qualification, work on a big project – update your CV to reflect this.

Adapt

My previous point should not suggest that your CV should be the same for every role you apply to – you will need to subtly tailor it. Look at the job description, check out the requirements and make sure your CV shows you can tick each box.

Length

I was always told two pages is ideal, and that’s probably true for a graduate with no/little relevant work experience. However if you have relevant information to the role don’t leave it out for sake of length – but if you go over to another page, make sure you fill it at least over halfway. A half-filled page looks a little half-hearted, like you haven’t much to say – no matter how much you’ve written preceding it.
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Structure

I’d include name (you’d never believe how many forget this!), contact details, personal statement, education, experience, key skills, interests, references.

Contents

The personal statement is a few sentences introducing yourself – it’s often the only thing a recruiter will read so make it snappy and memorable. State what type of role you are looking for – and remember to personalise it to the specific role for each application.

Education and experience should both be in the order of most recent first. I’d bold out any particularly relevant qualification – for instance in my case any actuarial exams passed. Add more detail where experiences are relevant to the job being applied for, key skills developed and main responsibilities.

Key skills includes bits like personal skills such as teamwork, and technical ability such as software knowledge – but always back up with short examples. Bold out key works again.

Include a short ‘interests’ section to show off some of your personality, but keep it limited to three lines. And obviously sensor it – best not to mention your love of the pub, but I include bits about my blog, love of reading, and learning to knit,

References can be included or not – if I have a bit of spare space they are included in full, if not I’ll say they are available on request.
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Design

Try and get all your key content written down before you work too much on design. I’d recommend going for a table format that’s easy to edit as you go. Keep size of type consistent throughout, plenty of white space, and a simple font.

What Employers Look For

I’ve been doing some work on recruitment recently, so I can say a bit about what employers look for when they read your CV. They will scan it over first, checking for whether you are eligible for the role in terms of qualifications. They’ll check for professionalism in terms of layout, structure and design, and any spelling mistakes. Personalisation to the role gets ‘bonus points’ and please, please, please spell the company name right – we screen out five CVs recently due to this being misspelt.

Make sure you are demonstrating you are the right person for the job in terms of skills, qualifications, experience. It’s often your only chance to show yourself off before the interview stage, so do it well!

What are your top tips for CV writing?