Lifestyle: March Favourites

It’s finally starting to feel a little bit like Spring! There’s warmth in the air which means I can just about get away with a mac rather than full coat for my walking commute. It’s light for a good while after I get home, which does wonders for both my mood and productivity each evening. And warmth means I’m more inclined to eat lighter foods, which has started to fuel the last little bit of weight-loss I want. I’m at the stage where there’s only a little bit left to lose, and naturally it’s sticking to me for as long as possible.

 photo 2015-03-07 14.43.48_zpsotja8obk.jpg photo 2015-03-17 20.45.54_zpsnykmcwu1.jpgI’ve loved being a little more experimental with food over the last few weeks. I’ve moved towards salads and lighter foods, and with some yummy additions they aren’t nearly as boring as I was expecting. Courgette with pasta actually works; my no carb-onara went down really well! A carrot and baby-leaf salad is livened up with a lemon dressing, crunch added by some baked pitta, flavoured introduced in the form of falafel. Yummy, quick, and fills me up so I don’t need that crème egg.

This brings me to another favourite. CRÈME EGGS. Because yummy. I seriously love them, but this year I’m not quite so enamoured. Could be one of two reasons – my new healthier diet has made me less  fond of sweet things – or (more likely) the fact they’ve stopped making them with Dairy Milk. Sob.

I may have even done some sneaky baking with crème eggs…check back tomorrow and all will be revealed.

 photo 2015-02-08 16.01.57_zps7y4ylsav.jpgI’ve also gotten much more into fashion over recent weeks. Possibly because of my weight-issue, but I’ve not been hugely fussed before. I’ve stuck to the same style of things, and though I have a LOT of clothes it was beginning to look uninspiring. I’ve purchased a few new bits (including a playsuit and what makes my second whole pair of jeans), and I’d like to slowly work towards a slightly more capsule wardrobe. I’ll never be able to hit the 37-pieces or whatever the optimum is, purely because my go-to is patterned dresses and cardigans. I’d end up with around 7 outfits if I did that, which just isn’t happening. But I’m starting to think more about the whole outfit rather than just one item when shopping. I’ve also got some exciting collabs up my sleeve…

 photo 2015-03-13 17.45.16_zpsthto9dyh.jpg photo b66458f9-d74a-4ce0-b8b9-9bbac06532da_zps3lioogaj.jpgA few days in London have brought yummy food. Tacos featured highly, but I also have other delights to show you!

 photo f6685f27-37b0-41eb-93fa-129b45bc4683_zps1uqd2iva.jpgBeauty wise, and nothing much has excited me in the past month. I wanted to pick up a new MAC offering, but after an elbow (twice) in the ribs by the ASSISTANT I gave up trying to get a glimpse. I’m really liking my Bold Metals Tapered Blush Brush, the price might have made me wince but I’ve reached for it daily and it’s really impressed me. I’m not tempted by the eye brushes in the range, but I’ll probably have a look at the other face brushes. When Boots run their next promotion!

 photo 2015-03-07 14.43.08_zpsirkkpfgs.jpgBut other than that, it’s been a quiet month. Work has been extra-busy, and I’m looking forward to several long weekends in April. I’m also starting to plan my summer holiday – I have flights booked out to Rome and back from Venice, so any suggestions of what to do in between would be great!

How’s your month been? Enjoying the lighter evenings?

Fashion: Everyday Floral Style

I’m a massive lover of floral clothes, particularly dresses. It’s of much amusement to W, he’ll just pick up anything in a shop and suggest it to be just because ‘it has flowers.’ My go-to outfit, summer or winter, rain or shine, is a floral dress, and a plain-ish thin cardigan. Add a coat in winter, lose the tights in summer, alternating between sandles, flats and boots. It’s pretty much all you’ll find me wearing.

 photo 63091836-865e-415f-a535-2c2679bceb38_zpsvrqmroub.jpgThat being said, I have recently purchased a pair of jeans, taking my total pair of trousers owned up to two. Though I may have a pair of shorts hiding somewhere…

 photo d241e614-96b7-4d28-a065-03c748feaf9a_zpshjuceosa.jpgThis dress pretty much sums me up. It’s red, a colour I love. It has flowers on. It isn’t tight – I hate bodycon dresses with a passion as my hourglass shape means I have to size up at least once. It looks good with tights and boots, and not bad with bare legs. It’s a little short, so the bare leg situation will be on one of the hotter days of the year when there’s zero chance of wind. It has the tendency to make me look slightly like I’m hiding a bump due to the fit, so I’d always belt it, but this has the bonus of hiding the massive lunch I had before taking these photos…

 photo 812a5dab-8dba-4d34-a83d-e0f5b4d312ca_zps9fckalx0.jpgIt’s from Less Than 10 Pounds, who offered to send me a few items. Understandably the quality isn’t brilliant (think similar to Primark), but it’s fab for the price. The site would be fab if you are experimenting with different styles, or need a few going out clothes. I love this dress. They also sent me a jacket, which I’ll be featuring soon, which was of AMAZING quality, I wouldn’t have complained paying three times the price for that. Other items in this outfit are Primark coat (lovely, but it’s bobbled like hell, a pet peeve of mine), Dorothy Perkins boots (reduced to £10, and the first non-fat leg boots I’ve worn in years), scarf from a scarf shop in Edinburgh, and my beloved Leather Satchel.

What’s your everyday style? Are you a fan of dresses, or living in jeans?

University: Things Found in Student Houses

I’ve already mentioned viewing a house and finding myself standing in dirty underwear. That wasn’t a fun experience, though I am forever thankful for cold weather requiring chunky boots that day. Mess is a given in many student houses, be it constant, or just during exam periods or after a gathering. So it’s not that unusual to find strange items lying around…

 photo 2015-01-04 15.30.47_zpsvezsh3fa.jpgWe hosted a pre-drinks session around this time last year. It was a pretty casual thing, a good night. We began the clean up the next morning and all seemed well. We’d gained a few half-full bottles, a few drink spillages. Nothing too traumatic. And whilst what we found wasn’t exactly tramatic, it was still rather puzzling. “Are these yours?” we asked of each other. Turns out someone, somehow had left us with a pair of their trainers…

Then there was first year. I came in through the main entrance, and wandered into the kitchen. My halls were like a house, with the kitchen backing onto a little grass area with a backdoor. And there at the backdoor was my housemate trying to entice a duck inside. What she was planning on doing with the duck I’ll never know.

 photo 2015-01-24 11.59.31_zpsici62gs8.jpgThe same housemate also had rather odd cleanliness habits. A fortnightly (yep) shower would result in the plughole being taped up, and the bathroom flooding. And she left handfuls of hair everywhere. She’d also wash her clothes whilst showering and air dry them. Though an airer was beyond her – she’d tied string across her room. Fine. Just don’t airdry your undies in full view of your door. Equally, don’t leave your rather obviously worn thong on the bathroom floor for three days. I rather quickly denied ownership to our other housemates…

I’ve been asked to talk about strange things found in student houses in association with British Gas, after apprentice Sarah was called to a customer’s home to fix a broken boiler and was surprised to discover that the house was filled with over 300 birds. I can imagine that would be a little odd!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve found in your house, or someone else’s home?

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;
 photo 4a2102c3-d782-4fd7-85c3-a24d5a60607c_zpsuzghmr8o.jpg

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!
 photo b69bcd2f-5b57-4b47-9264-cc610b7dfd4e_zpsjjrghdvq.jpg

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?