New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Happy New Year everyone, I hope your celebrations seeing in 2014 were lovely! Mine were spent doing some of the catering for a dinner party which has inspired a post or two, but for now I’m going to share with you all my New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve split these into a few categories, and I hope to keep you updated throughout the year, in a bid to keep me on track!

Academic

Weirdly, I’ll only be studying for around 5 months of 2014 as I’ll be on a placement from July, so I’m kinda struggling to this of academic based resolutions. However I have a few broad things I want to work on:

  • Take better notes for all subjects. I’m not a bad notetaker, I’m just inconsistent. And guilty of spending boring lectures on Bloglovin’. My main aim is to work on my notetaking for my more written modules – numerically I’m fine, but I find keeping up with theoretical financial lectures more difficult.
  • Come up with a better revision plan. Basically, I want to make sure I’m not learning content when I should be revising! I guess my main aim is to do more past questions.
  • Make full use of my Filofax. It was a little neglected last term, and my organisation suffered, so I definitely want to improve this.
  • Self-teach Excel. A little add-on which I think best fits in this category. I use Excel for budgeting, but I’d really like to be able to do more of it before I’m required to use it in a professional setting. I just don’t want to look like an idiot for not understanding it!

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Blogging

The important one! 2013 was the year I really started to blog properly and this year I want to go on developing and improving this site.

  • Comment on a blog a day. I’m a massive blog reader, but I always seem to just read rather than participate. I definitely want to start showing other bloggers that I appreciate their work!
  • Keep to a blog schedule. I ideally want to post around three times a week, plus the regular weekly posts such as the What’s Cooking Wednesday series.
  • Improve my photography. I was debating whether to invest in a Nikon bridge camera over the past few weeks, but have ultimately decided against it, instead focussing on my own technique before upgrading my equipment.
  • Continue developing the blog. This is a broad one! I’m considering going self-hosted, I want to alter the design I currently have, and I also want to branch out into other areas – for instance I have a lot of beauty related reviews coming soon.

Cooking/Baking

My main aim is to really tighten up my budget (I’ll need to find the money for a deposit on a new rented property around May time, so money is going to be tight!) and expand my repertoire.

  • Save money. Ideally I want to spend around £10 a week over the next term, with a big shop at the start bringing it up to an average of £15 weekly. I’m also aiming to post a few money-saving tips in the future, including one that saved me a whopping £50 last term!
  • Continue experimenting with tomato-free recipes. I think I’ve cracked the Tomato Free Slow-Cooker Bolognese, but I want to work on a faster version, and also play about with curries.
  • Buy joints of meat. I received Save with Jamie for Christmas, and have been inspired by the leftover recipes. I’m definitely going to be trying a few! Linked with this, I also want to learn how to joint a chicken, as I think this will be a lot cheaper than buying the parts separately.
  • Expand my baking knowledge. Yes, I can cook muffins, but I want to expand into traybakes, and maybe even more impressive cakes. My main aim? To bake my own bread. Hopefully as good as this loaf my boyfriend made a few weeks back.

Bread

Beauty

My blog is going to become a littleee more beauty orientated as I’ve become a lot more interested in it. My aims are;

  • To find the perfect foundation for me. I thought I had found this recently, but its not quite blendable enough for me.
  • Clean and maintain my make-up brushes. I recently invested in a whole new set, and am determined to keep them in the best possible condition.
  • Try Pixi Glow Tonic. I just think that, from what I’ve read, this would be perfect for my skin.
  • Take my make-up off every night. Without fail. I’ve gotten my skin to what is pretty much the best it’s been since pre-teenage years, and now I want to maintain it. Unfortunately I’m kinda lazy, but I’m determined to combat that this year.

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Personal

And finally a mish-mash of things that don’t really come under any category;

  • Exercise more. The standard resolution. For many years my aim has been to begin running, but its slowly beginning to dawn that my ankles are too weak to run without proper supporting trainers, the cost of which I can’t justify right now. So I plan to walk more, be more active, and use online exercise classes to improve my fitness.
  • Learn to knit. Properly. I’ve been trying for over a year, and its probably one of the most difficult and frustrating things I’ve ever tried to do. But I’m determined that by next winter I’ll have knitted myself a scarf.

But really, all of my goals amount to one thing – be a better person in everything I do. A lot of self-improvement is on the cards for me this year!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? 

New Year’s Eve

Its the time of the year when glittery nails come out (see this post by my lovely friend), daring dresses don’t seem quite so daring (I’m in love with this one), and even the parents don’t frown on staying up/out til the early hours of the morning. This year my New Year’s is turning out very tame – I’m helping my boyfriend’s parents to host a dinner party. In that last few days we have baked bread, made pate, and we’re currently in the process of creating a Chocolate & Whisky Torte with the Venison Casserole in the oven. But that doesn’t mean I’m making an excuse not to get dressed-up and go a little OTT with the make-up routine! So, here’s what this evening will involve for me…

2013-12-31 10.29.52-1This is my New Year’s dress. Not expensive, just £13 from Primark a few weeks ago, but it fits me perfectly, is an on-trend colour (which just happens to be one of my favourites, as I’m sure regular readers will know!) and its a classy shape – so no embarrassing moments at dinner!

2013-12-31 10.37.02I’m really into wearing a bold lip this winter and one of my New Year’s Resolutions (check back tomorrow for a full post) is to make sure my nails are painted and in good condition most of the time, so I was delighted to receive this Ted Baker Duo for Christmas. I’ll be trialling it tonight, and I’m really looking forward to it!

2013-12-31 10.39.10-1As I’ll be painting my nails, I’ve decided to lay out my make-up all ready – there’ll be no chipping due to rummaging in a bag tonight!

I’m going with a tried and tested base look. Throughout the day I’ll be moisturising my lips with Burt’s Bee’s Pomegranate formula and my face with Garnier Moisture Match Illuminating Lotion. I introduced a weekly face mask to my routine last week, which I’ll be blogging about soon, so my skin is already rather soothed and exfoliated.

I’ll apply Maybelline’s Better Skin foundation (I’m currently trialling, it’s due on sale next month, and there’s a full review coming soon!) with Bodyshop’s foundation brush, then contour with my beloved MAC Love Joy blush. This is probably the most extravagant single product I have, but I don’t regret it one bit!

For my eyes, I’ll be relying on mainly these products, but with a new and very much loved addition.

2013-12-31 10.41.18Yes it might not be budget friendly, but this is my pride and joy at the moment. It came to me at Christmas from my lovely boyfriend, and despite me not getting a chance to use it much, I already love it. The colours are perfect for my skin tone and eyes, they blend beautifully, and I honestly think it’s the perfect palette for any occasion. The downside? I want to buy the others, and I’m not sure I could ever be fully happy with ‘drugstore’ eyeshadow again.

A final spritz of Oscar De La Renta ‘Live in Love’ and I’m ready to go!

How are you spending your New Year’s Eve?

 

National UK Blog Awards

Hello everyone, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Santa brought me an early Christmas present this year, one I am sneakily sharing with you now (I don’t want to overload you with posts during my “12 Days” series – so hope two posts a day isn’t too much!). It turns out that I’ve been nominated for the UK National Blog Awards 2014 – which I’m amazingly proud of. My blog is kind-of a sideline for me, I’m not a writing type of student (you’re more likely to find me clutching a calculator than a laptop these days) so I’m glad and very shocked that its being recognised in this way. And, even more amazingly, I’ve been nominated for THREE categories!

Thank you

Needless to say, I’m very happy to have received these nominations!

Whilst I’m not asking you to vote specifically for me, what I would love you to do is visit the site through the links above, have a look at all the other fabulous blogs, and vote for someone. If its me, even better! You do need to register with the site to vote, but other than receiving a free eBook you should receive very few, if any, emails so really all voting takes is a few minutes of your time.

Please Vote!

What’s Cooking Wednesday (#7)

I must say, I think last week’s post went better that Week 5’s! This week I am attempting to use up all of my fresh food, so (1) we have a bit of a mish-mash, and (2) it is very likely to change!

This is also the last What’s Cooking post for a few weeks. Next week is the last week of term, so I’m planning out all meals til I go back, and then I’ll be at home (and so not having to meal plan too much). I’ll be back with this series in January!

Wednesday – Southern Fried Chicken, with Homemade Wedges & Coleslaw

I’ve had a craving for homemade coleslaw for weeks, I have red cabbage to use up, I had money off breaded chicken. Win win, craving = sorted. This dinner is the kind of dinner I really enjoy, but don’t let myself have too often. Homemade coleslaw = the best!

I’m afraid I didn’t get a picture of this – but my coleslaw was good!

Thursday – Christmas Dinner

As you know, my house does a Sunday dinner, and this weekend it was due to be our Christmas one. However I have an important event on Monday which I need to prepare for, so we’ve moved it to Thursday. I’m excited for all the trimmings!

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Friday – Dinner In London: WAHACA Time!

I’m meeting my boyfriend in London (because, well, I miss him!) so its to our favourite restaurant. I need to email them tonight to re-check their menu for tomato-free ness!

Saturday – Sausage & Chicken Pie, Mash and 3 Types of Cabbage

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Sunday – Mushroom Risotto, Salad, & Garlic Bread

Monday – Leftover Risotto

I possibly might do this in a bake-form, which a crunchy breadcrumb and cheese topping.

Tuesday – Sausage & Mash with Vegetables

Wednesday – Curry Night

It is a housemate’s birthday, so we’re ordering a take-away. Obviously I can’ risk ordered too much off-menu, so I’ll be cooking my own curry sauce and just buying rice and naan. This also marks the last day of proper lectures and assignments, so a bottle of cider may be in order!

Thursday – Home Time!

I’m hoping to be home by Thursday night, so that is the end of my ‘week’ – Merry Christmas meal planners!

What recipes do you have for using up ingredients?

What’s Cooking Wednesday (#4)

It’s amazing how quickly the weeks go by when you do this type of post!

This week’s menu is based on trying to spend as little as possible, as it is my turn to cook on Sunday. My plan is to start eating up what is in my freezer, slowly emptying it down for the Christmas break (despite it being a long way off!). Remember to check back as the week goes on to see how my meals went – last weeks post is now fully updated.

Wednesday – Potato & Lentil Curry (from freezer), Spinach, Rice & Naan

No picture of this, but it wasn’t the most attractive of dishes – tasted good though!

Thursday – Mushroom Pasta (with Spinach) & Garlic Bread

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This is my comfort dinner – I love a creamy mushroom sauce. Mine is made by slow-cooking a can of condensed mushroom soup with half a tub of chopped fresh mushrooms, a chopped onion, a tub of creme fraiche and loads (five cloves!) of garlic with some herbs too. This makes five or six servings for the freezer, and as long as you stir it well when reheating (as it does split) it is absolutely fine.

Friday – Out at McDonalds!

Me and the girls are heading out to an 8.30pm showing of the new Hunger Games film, we have McDonalds vouchers, so thought we’d make a cheap night of it – I’m looking forward to some junk food!

Saturday – Noodle Stir-Fry

Again, not the most attractive of dishes, so no photo. But see my basic stir fry here!

Sunday – Chicken & Sausage Pot Pie, Mash & Veg

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It’s my turn to cook this week, and I thought I’d go with this. I made it at some point from a Times Newspaper recipe, but I’m hoping I can find a similar one elsewhere as I’ve lost it! This meal definitely went down well, and I’ll be blogging about it soon!

Monday –  Bubble & Squeak with Sausages

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I changed my menu plan to accommodate leftovers, and it was definitely yummy!

Tuesday – Mushroom Risotto

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I was in need of a treat/comfort me, and this is my go-to ‘recipe.’ Made enough for Wednesday’s lunch too!