Lifestyle: January Favourites

The first month of 2015 is over, and I can’t quite believe it. Everything is just going so quickly at the moment, and I’d quite like to just jump on a table and politely ask life to pause for a moment.

 photo eb40b8e5-a2d6-42b0-8267-db2acd21c6a8_zpswybbw2id.jpgThis month hasn’t exactly been the greatest. I’ve struggled with sleep (to the point of lying awake until the early hours, knowing getting up for work at 7am would be horrendous), been busy at the office, and had longer gaps between seeing my boyfriend. Coupled with desperately trying to gain some sort of summer internship, I’m stressed. But I’ve also picked up a few new favourites along the way…

 photo 2015-01-10 20.10.13_zpsn6lc6hz5.jpgCheaper frying steaks. Not quite as meltingly tender or naughty-feeling, but a third of the price and still gives you the meaty hit. And they taste wonderful made healthy too! Just yum! You can have a read of my Asian Steak Salad recipe here.

 photo b716743c-cad5-4cba-a1b6-bf6e6fbdfa5b_zpsly37bekn.jpgTaking time out from a computer screen is something I’ve been meaning to do, but it never quite works out. So much to do, so little time and all that! This Line A Day diary is the perfect balance, and I’ve really enjoyed making a few moments to reflect on my day.

 photo 2015-01-03 18.15.52_zpsuvxpdbwi.jpg photo 0e8030b5-8a53-48a2-ab83-6d01cff116e3_zpsraivyjla.jpgBaking! I posted about some Hot Toddy Cupcakes I made recently, and by the response you all liked the sound of them. I’m now developing a banana, coconut and rum variant for summer months!

In other baking news, Ruby (2013’s GBBO finalist) has written a book, and I received it for Christmas. I’m not sure why it hasn’t been raved about, as it is stunning. Admittedly I haven’t actually baked anything from it yet, but its the perfect balance of simple recipes, beautiful photographs and the science behind baking. I’ve read it cover to cover. Twice.

 photo 7fb48ce4-fa55-44df-a78a-a5dbd35c6cd7_zpsca9unzrz.jpgAnd whilst reading and reflecting, what better accompaniment that a good cuppa?! My parents bought me a Brown Betty teapot for my 21st, and it’s just the right size to get out two perfect cups. Not great when I’m trying to cut down on tea, but I’m limiting myself to one pot in the morning, and one in the evening.

 photo 2015-01-24 13.32.46_zpstxdndjnd.jpgWhilst I’ve been missing W like crazy, it’s been nice to have a weekend or two to myself. I’ve treated myself to yummy breakfasts played with a sous-vide attachment to my slow cooker, and generally chilled out. Blueberry pancakes made an appearance, and they were delicious!

 photo 6cce6b8c-21c4-4194-a96b-4a22023d9a22_zpsl8dt2cvw.jpgI’ve also been intent on improving my health and fitness this month. Green tea has been making an appearance, though I am infusing it with extra lemon and a little honey to make it palatable! I’ve also been doing and enjoying some of the 30-Day challenges. The squat one is my ‘favourite’ although I seem to be struggling with the jump from 80 to 100 – my legs keep giving up in the nineties. The lunge and tricep dips are also being done, and once I get a mat I’ll be throwing myself into some of the ab ones too! Just need to find some enjoyable cardio (without aggravating the foot injury) now and I’m there…any idea?!

How has your January been? Any new favourites been discovered?

Lifestyle: Getting To Know Me

I just fancied writing a chatty post. I’ve got a really busy week at work. I’m training on new software and I’m at a crucial stage in a project. I needed to write aimlessly, so that’s what I’m doing. A post to remind myself about all the things I love, what makes me ‘me’ – before all work and no play turns me into a very dull girl.

So, X Number of Things About Me…

(image from Pinterest)

1 – My hair is the bane of my life. It constantly looks messy, takes forever to wash and dry, and I have no idea what to do with it. I can’t put it up, I struggle to style in. Hot rollers are the only thing that have so far worked for me.

2 – I went to a Boy’s School, and had 8 “prom dates.” Granted, the majority had girlfriends, and obviously I had W! I managed to get into the local and very good Boy’s School for Sixth For, with only a handful of other girls. Turned out that despite going to the Girls School for five years, boys were hell of a lot nicer. I made some great friends, and I speak to far more of my guy friends than those ‘besties’ I was at school with. My multiple dates happened as the school was reluctant to allow external people to prom…and our group were all going to Legoland the next day!

Oh, I did actually purchase that picture, but I can’t find the actual copy to scan in so there’s the marked version. Fab photographers!

 photo 2014-12-03141311_zps8d7c69ab.jpg3 – I love scaring the hell out of myself with ‘extreme activities’ but hate sport. I’ve tried high-ropes courses, zorbing (amazing!), abseiling down a cliff, indoor caving…and next on my list is rafting. Oh, curling is amazing too. But going to badminton with work terrifies me so much I just can’t go!

4 – Currently trying desperately to be healthier. I’m dieting without dieting, and trying my best to squeeze more exercise in. You can read more here.

5 – I have a worsening obsession with lipsticks. I’ve added six MAC ones to my collection since July. One for each pay packet. Not sure where the extra one sneaked in…I’d give anything for the Nars lip pencils too!

 photo 10464251_10201833358628057_7137741447011300528_n_zpsda2dc99f.jpg6 – I fell in love young. I met W when I started sixth form, and we were together within a month. Nearly 4.5 years on, still going strong. Whilst I wouldn’t advise setting out to find your soulmate at that age, I have no regrets!

7 – I still have cooking disasters. I made a toad-in-the-hole this time last year that was basically liquid. Yum…

Revision photo 2014-05-09174200_zpse9b3f7a5.jpg8 – I’m a math’s geek. I’ve loved it forever, and I’m studying Actuarial Science at university. My placement year has confirmed that an actuary is what I want to be, so I’m currently psyching myself up for years worth of exams…

9 – A beach is my favourite place to be. I hardly ever get to go, but I love watching the waves. I can never resist a paddle either. I remember full-on swimming on New Year’s day in Cornwall several years running. And I never wore a wetsuit.

 photo 2014-07-18212135_zpse2324295.jpg photo 2014-07-19124219_zps70610d2d.jpg photo 2014-12-25142812_zps4dda63c2.jpg10 – My dog(s) mean the world to me. My first ‘best friend’ was my grandparents dog (weirdly also a William), and I adored him. Tee-J is also very much adored, definitely the baby of the family. I would sacrifice anything for my dogs!

11 – I’m extremely socially insecure. I occasionally have mini panic attacks when in public, and will constantly relay situations over in my head to see how I could have done ‘better.’ I’m definitely improving – it’s been a while since I cancelled plans due to feeling too insecure!

12 – I have at best Irritable Bowel Syndrome, with other digestive orders currently being ruled out. I’m highly sensitive to changes in water (Kent = worst…give me Switzerland anyday!), and I have to watch what I eat. The hospital appointments are most attractive…

13 – I LOVE cheap hair products. ASDA conditioner has been my go-to for years, and I adore Boots Pink Curl Cream.

14 – I can never remember my postcode. I think it comes from moving around so much with university. I’ve used five over the past two years, and its a nightmare when it comes to medical appointments as for some reason addresses aren’t synchronized.

15 – I still get ID-d for a lottery ticket. Yet not for alcohol. In the same shopping trip. Yep, I don’t understand Sainsbury’s logic either…

16 – Spiders terrify the life out of me. To the point I can be physically sick. I will never live alone for this reason.

 photo 2014-12-02222543_zps88be2c50.jpg17 – I would love to be able to celebrate my half birthday. Mainly because I am desperate for a birthday BBQ, and that won’t be happening anytime soon in July.

18 – I’ve already planned myself three weddings on Pinterest. At least I’ll be prepared when the time comes!

 photo a3d817b8-6871-484c-ace3-c0e984adc0b8_zps75fc13b0.jpg19 – I’m addicted to tea. I can’t function without one in the morning, and I usually have at least three a day. And that’s a considerable cut back!

20 – I can’t throw away books. It’s a major problem, I fear for my floorboards. No matter how many times I have read them, something stops me. I really need to have a clear out though so they all fit on one bookcase again. Especially as I have a much-used Kindle!

I loved writing that post – it was so much fun to think about all little bits that make up my personality. Let me know if you want more chatty posts like this! Now, tell me one random thing about yourself…

What’s Occurring: 2015 Resolutions

I really enjoyed having a long list of resolution to work towards last year, I actually remember most of them throughout the year and felt I progressed better than just having a couple of aims. So I’ve done the same this year, and here they are.

Image: The Sassy Writer

Blogging

Try and keep up my blogging schedule. I’ve really enjoyed posting 4 or 5 times a week, and I feel that the writing really fits in with my day-to-day life. My promise is that I’ll try to never get stressed about getting a post up, and nothing will ever be rushed or forced.

 photo aca5ae4f-d8de-471f-9de4-2fa9558aa2f1_zpsff82f1ad.jpgI definitely want to work more on photography, as that’s something I really enjoy doing. I received a 50mm lens from my Grandparents for Christmas, and whilst it’s really difficult to use, I’m really enjoying some of the results I’m getting.

 photo 15c16f2b-b748-45f9-bc38-f7a96dde8243_zps62fd85a6.jpgCooking

Continue to expand my repertoire – joints of meat is something I’m determined to master. I’m also looking forward to cooking more curries from scratch, and baking more bread.

I’m also trying to move away from lunchtime sandwiches. Whilst working I have the luxury of a fridge and a microwave. So far I’ve stuck to homemade soups and stews, but once things warm up I have some exciting salads I want to try. Any suggestions for interesting soups are also welcome – I’d love to master a freezable chowder.

I try not to mention on here, but I have some pretty nasty tummy issues. They’ve been there on and off since I was 1, but have been horrific for the last 2 years. After 7 months of waiting lists, I finally saw a consultant just before Christmas. I’ve completely overhauled my approach, changed medication, and have been given some serious dietary advice. In all honesty, he thought my diet was damn good. But the changes include less tea, and more protein. The biggest change is to make sure I drink enough, and mainly water. I’m sitting here with lemon infused water and shaking from tea withdrawal. So dealing with this is definitely a resolution I have to work on!

Work/University

As I’m on placement until July this is a bit of a tricky one! I want to gain more experience over the summer, this time in life insurance, so fingers crossed I get an internship. Once I’m back at university I really want to put my head down and power through final year – 9-5 working will hopefully stay normal for me so I can have a strong line between study and rest.

 photo ae571a53-6b34-4cd9-aace-19866e9f8181_zps5c35369d.jpgPersonal

Start running. Its been a resolution for years, but having bought the gear in November (prior to dropping cupboard door on foot) I really have no excuse. Plus I’ll be wasting money if I don’t go, which is something I hate. My consultant has also told me I need to exercise more as it will really help; due to my condition I don’t often have the energy, but it’s a push I’m really going to have to make. I’m thinking yoga and gentle weights for now, building stamina up gradually.

I also want to keep a diary. I’ve ordered a five year one, so I’m really hoping I will keep it up. I had a lovely idea of keeping strips of paper with memories on in a jar, but realistically I doubt that would work when I move up and down the country to/from university and placements a couple of times a year.

 photo 8f014542-fcfa-400d-af95-7d93c757b85e_zps6deb665b.jpgBeauty

Work towards as-perfect-as-I-can-get skin. Keep taking makeup off every night, moisturize regularly, and possibly find a serum that works for me. The big one though? Disgusting I know, but I really should stop picking spots!

I also want to clean powder brushes more regularly. I was really good last year at keeping my foundation brush clean (read: not using it) and washing eye-shadow brushes. Powder brushes I was awful at, and it was only when I borrowed my mum’s of the same brand and type over Christmas that I realized how disgusting mine was. Its not been washed and feels so much better!

Fingers crossed I manage to achieve at least some of these. The main ones are diet/exercise improvements as I know deep down the health benefits I will get will be worth it. But keeping a diary is something I’m really keen to do, maintain memories is so important to me for so many reasons.

As I was writing the post anyway, I thought I’d enter it into the Silentnight New Year’s Sleep Resolutions competition

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you normally achieve them?

What’s Occurring: 2014 Resolutions Review

Ignore the spelling mistakes and long ramble here. I wrote this post a week or so back, late, after my work’s Christmas do. A lack of food (going out for lunch then not being served our started til 16:45?!) and wine makes typing a littleeee tricky. And a note: normal posts will resume next week. This weekend is my boyfriend’s 21st, and I’m the only one in the office this week. Being crazy busy isn’t helpful to getting back into blogging after a break!

 photo 2014Review_zps0fa2cb5c.jpgAlmost a year ago I wrote this post with a rather long list of “to-do’s” for this year, and I reviewed them halfway through here. Today’s my chance to review them after virtually a full year. How have I got on? Have I achieved what I wanted to achieve? Is there anything I want to work on next year? etc, etc, etc…

Academic

I haven’t actually been at university since I wrote my update post, due to being on my placement year. I’ve really used my Filofax since starting work, not sure I could actually live without it! I reckon my note taking has improved dramatically for work-based topics though – I’m hoping that will translate to study when I go back to university in September!

Blogging

A lot of progress I reckon has been made here. In January I moved to self-hosted, and I’m currently working alongside my boyfriend on a custom design (see here). Commenting on blogs is something I’ve loved doing, though it has dropped from once a day in recent months. I do comment in bulk when I get chance every couple of days though! Photography is gradually improving, especially with the addition of my new camera. I’m especially proud of these photos.

 photo 1caec8db-29b0-4680-88ee-d0cb5e2d2ee5_zps73842900.jpgCooking/Baking

I’ve definitely made a lot of progress here, particularly since starting my placement. Whilst I still don’t spend much on food, I’ve been able to afford expanding my ingredients cupboard. I now have a lot more spices. I’ve managed to bake my own bread a few times; it’s so much tastier than shop bought, and I’m finding it kinder on my tummy too! The only thing I haven’t really started doing is cooking with joints of meat. My live-in landlady is a vegetarian, and I’d sooner keep my home for the year! I have branched out a bit with meat recipes though, I’ve got a super-yummy one scheduled for January!

 photo 9d054e3d-8d86-4faa-93d8-43f061d69799_zps4c001192.jpgBeauty

I completely forgot I even set myself goals in this section, oops! I’ve generally been really good about taking makeup off, at least doing a quick cleanse if not a proper wash. Pixi Glow tonic has been bought and repurchased, turns out I love the stuff. The hunt for foundation is still ongoing, but I’ve picked up some Rimmel ones which are at least the right shade. And I have a rather pretty Hourglass palette which can make pretty much any base look perfect…The only thing I have completely failed on is keeping my makeup brushes clean. I thought I had done well, until I came home this weekend and swiped my mum’s kabuki as I left mine – turns out mine must be seriously clogged up! That will be sorted as soon as I get hold of it next weekend!

Andddd Personal

Exercise is something which has eluded me slightly. I upped the walking, but other than that it’s been a fail. I actually managed to buy running trainers and clothes a few months ago, got ridiculously excited, then dropped a cupboard door on my foot. Those trainers still don’t fit over the swelling, but I am hoping to sort it out asap. And knitting. An utter fail. I have tried, and tried again. I can get two rows and a tangle, so give up in a strop. Any tips are appreciated because I really want to do this!

That’s my 2014 goals, now I just need to set myself some for 2015! How did you do last year, and what are you planning on working towards next year?

What’s Occuring Wednesday: Before the End of the Year

I can’t quite believe we’re coming to the end of 2014. It’s been a strange year for me, better than 2013, but difficult. I’ve had hopes raised and dashed about my long distance relationship ending (bring on 2016!), and Repetitive Strain Injury meant my exams didn’t go as well as I hope. On the other hand, I’ve gained amazing work experience in the area I want to go into, improved my blogging game dramatically, and become attached to my camera. There’s a few little bits I want to do to finish off the year, so here they are.

And the source of this amazing picture is here.

 

Improve my Blog Design

This has been on my list for months, I’m just not happy with what I’ve got. My lovely boyfriend has been in the process of designing me a custom one, but it’s come to the point of his second year that he hasn’t got time to spend – so some of my Christmas pennies will be going towards this. It will probably be a template for now, and I hope to learn enough to carry on with W’s work later in the year.

Sort through Clothes

The downside of being at university is that I’m managed to gain two full wardrobes. Whilst I’m home for Christmas I’m determined to streamline everything. I always say I’ll ebay items, but I think to make myself get rid they’ll have to go to a charity shop. Likewise with books – having a kindle means my overflowing bookcase is unnecessary. I cheekily stole this picture from my lovely friend Libby’s blog – my wardrobe is in that much of a state I can’t bear to photograph it!

Take some Outfit Photos

I’m horrendously self-conscious about my body and looks – it has been to the point of being scared to go out due to fear of people talking/laughing behind my back. I finally plucked up courage to post an outfit a few weeks ago (it’s just here), and now I want to carry on with this. I have so many clothes (see previous point!) that it’s a waste not to share them!

 photo b263b0ed-4ac2-4037-962a-4f5b64ce031e_zps53da36d5.jpg photo 9503e468-b958-4156-800a-7d70491997bf_zpsa81b1024.jpgKickstart a Healthier Routine

I had just got back into running after a very long time when I dropped a cupboard door onto my foot. This was 3.5 weeks ago, and I still can’t get my trainers over the swelling. Its still pretty blue and painful too. As I’m struggling to exercise as I’d like (even my power hill-walk three times a week isn’t happening!) I really need to improve the diet. Its not bad, but I’d like to up the vegetable, increase the water intake, and perhaps half the amount of bread eaten. A little difficult when I’m still ploughing through the chocolates gifted for my birthday last week!

How was 2014 for you? Do you set goals throughout the year? What do you want to achieve in the next few weeks?

What’s Occurring Wednesday: November Favourites

Can someone please explain to me how another month has gone by? The next time I write about my favourite it will be 2015. Which is scary. My life feels like it’s flashing by me at the moment. It seems only yesterday I was sixteen and shyly getting to know the geek in my maths/chemistry class. Suddenly I was crying on my doorstep when the same (slightly-less geeky) geek said “see you soon” as we headed off to universities in the opposite direction. And now I’m 21 (as of yesterday!), he’s approaching the same milestone birthday, and we’ve got our lives well planned out. I’m working full time as an actuary, with only one year of university left to go. I graduate in 2016. That’s 18 months away. Where’s the pause button?!

The main thing I’ve loved about November has been some much needed rest and relaxation. Since starting work in July I’ve had no days off. Today marks my third day off in a row (yes, there are technically in December, by my holiday started for me at 5pm on Friday!) and I’ve loved not having to dive out of bed with an alarm. I’ve loved having a decent breakfast – Sunday saw my boyfriend (aforementioned geek!) create me a stack of giant American pancakes, which I covered in honey, cinnamon and banana. I’ve loved not having to wear tights and a suit for most of the day. I’ve enjoyed not having to head outside if it’s raining. I’ve enjoyed spending time with my family, cuddling my dog, and seeing my boyfriend mid-week. Having the time to read my favourite blogs. Wearing PJs until lunch. Things that can often be taken for granted, but it’s been truly lovely. I’m looking forward to Christmas even more – yay for a whole week off!

Thanksgiving. Photo source here (love this site by the way!). I’m not American, I don’t celebrate this holiday, and the sudden influx of Black Friday on Britain annoyed the hell out of me. But I loved Thanksgiving this year. And hated it at the same time. Working for an American company, our stateside offices were closed for the latter part of last week, meaning more relaxed offices this side of the Atlantic. On the other hand, there was no one to help when I couldn’t access a vitally important piece of software.

 photo IMG_0628_zpsaece4675.jpg photo IMG_0645_zps987747b7.jpgAs I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I’ve been trying to make the most of my weekends. One slightly wet November Saturday saw us head to The Art of The Brick exhibition. I’m not a hugely arty person. I love the Summer Exhibition at the RA, but that’s about it. I find looking at stuff quite boring, but this totally got my inner child excited. One thing is for sure, this definitely isn’t a children’s exhibition, and I saw quite a few disappointed families. What it is, however, is brilliant. Highly recommended.

I was lucky enough to grab a few hurried days in my favourite city last month too. Being invited to a (two day) assessment centre sounds stressful, but involved a couple of hours free to wander the streets of Edinburgh, and indulging in a Nutty Professor. I am now desperate to head up there again over a Christmas period, the market was just being set up, the lights weren’t switched on, but even so I could tell it was going to be magical. Needing to go is not exaggerating here! I’m still constantly checking my emails regarding the job (who wouldn’t want to work in Edinburgh during the summer?!), but I should hear within the next week…

So, a good month. November can quite often be dull and dreary, but this year we’ve had more nicer days than not. I’m still not regularly wearing a thick coat, and I’ve only had one day where I’ve sat in wet shoes all day… How was your November?

What’s Occurring Wednesday: Blogs I’m Loving

I tend to go through stages over which blogs I love. I actually follow over 1200 blogs on Bloglovin’ – enough to have been accused of following just to get followers. I will freely admit I don’t read every single post in my feed. At around 200+ a day I’d spend all my time reading if I did! However I do read every post that appeals to me (title and first image is a biggy!), regardless of blogger.

 photo Blogs_zps968f0717.jpgAnd I go through stages where I will pretty much stalk certain bloggers, obsessively reading every single post. Generally because they are bloggers I aspire to be, maybe they are doing a series that I find really interesting, or because I just love their writing style. Today I’ll share with you my current favourites…

 photo LittleMissKaty_zps9aedce38.pngLittle Miss Katy is a relatively new blogger, and I’m fairly sure I was amongst her earliest followers. I came across her on a Twitter chat, found her blog, and loved it immediately. Her humour is great, it feels like chatting to a friend, and I know that after a bad day, curling up with a cuppa and catching up with her blog is going to make me feel better. She’s done amazingly well for someone who’s only been blogging for a matter of months, and I imagine her blog being hugely, hugely successful. I know who has my vote in the 2015 Blog Awards Lifestyle Category!

 photo CiderwithRosie_zps922a07bf.pngCider with Rosie is another blog that I know will instantly improve my day. I’m utterly jealous of this girls seemingly perfect life. A stunning place to live, countryside, an absolutely lovely proposal (I can’t begin to imagine how wonderful her wedding will be), and a cute spaniel that almost rivals my dog’s cuteness. This blog has the best mix of lifestyle and recipes. Her photography is gorgeous too.

 photo EmTalks_zps90c8f3d3.pngEm Talks is yet another blogger I’m jealous of. All of a sudden she’s jetted off to Canada, and is also spending lots of time across America. I was green-eyed reading her New York posts, and now she’s had a trip to Cuba?! I’m sure there’s room in her suitcase for little ol’me! I’ve not been one to get into travel blogs, but this one has just enough balance between beauty, reviews and travel to mean I’m not too jealous to unfollow.

 photo Gh0stparties_zps57161011.pngOnto a more beauty based blog now; this was really hard for me. I follow a lot of beauty bloggers, but typically only read posts about products that appeal to me. Gh0stparties is a blogger who doesn’t just stick to beauty, there’s a lot of interior and lifestyle posts. But when she does do beauty, she does it well. And again, stunning photography which is always a winner in my Bloglovin’ feed. I only wish my own photos matched up to my expectations!

 photo Ginevrella_zpsf8690b4a.pngGinevrella is a blog I came across when Jennifer entered and won my giveaway. I couldn’t have wished for a more lovely blogger to win, especially after the comp was annoying posted across a certain forum and so resulted in lots of non-reader entries. Grrr. Ranting over, I’m so glad to have come across this blog. Chatty, friendly style, simple design (mine really needs an update!) and yet another cute dog. I may have only been a follower for a few days, but I’ve read all her old posts. That’s the sign of a great blog!

 photo LittlePaperSwans_zpsde277542.pngAnd finally we have Little Paper Swans. I love this for the sheer variety of posts, and again the photographs. The recipes are pretty lovely sounding, and I have bookmarked many of them to make. Not a blog I’ve known for long, but again I’ve read through all posts.

It was so difficult to write this post. I love so many different blogs, so many different bloggers. Writing a definitive list was impossible, and I know I’ve missed so many off! Who are your favourite bloggers? Any recommendations for me?

What’s Occuring Wednesday: October Favourites

How is it November already?! I can’t believe it’s less than a month til my 21st, then it will soon be Christmas. Especially with the recent weather! Yes, when it’s bad it’s pretty horrendous, but I went out in a thin cardigan on Saturday. I haven’t worn anything thicker than a trench coat yet…

Having said that, I have been making the post of the darker nights. I spoke a few weeks ago about how they can make me miserable, so I’ve been making sure I have some good old me-time. A candle-lit soak in the bath, candles burning, fresh flowers, some good hot chocolate. I’ve been working my way through a variety of Options sachets, so far I’ve not been impressed with the white chocolate, but loved the orange version. The ginger one comes a close second.

1441238_10152069947758516_1130915187_nI’ve been getting to work on my New Year’s Resolutions too! It may be 10 months late, but I’ve finally made my own bread! I followed James Morton’s recipe (doesn’t he look identical to my boyfriend?!), and it turned out pretty damn good. Served with homemade soup (I’ve made three different soups in 10 days, with another on the menu tomorrow…) it’s so much better than bought bread. I’m less bloated, and it just tastes far nicer. Mine was a little burnt, hence I’ve sneaked a photo of the bread my boyfriend baked a few months ago!

 photo 3e96256d-3aec-4f6a-adc7-f473e558001c_zpsd031a75b.jpgAlso in the kitchen – popcorn. Need I say more?! I had a craving for it a few days ago, but decided to make my own. Best. Decision. Ever. It’s ridiculously easy, so delicious, and can be made quicker than I can walk to the corner shop. My first batch was a mix of salty and sweet, my second included cinnamon. Look forward to plenty of recipes in the coming months! I’ve been loving curling up with a good book. I’ve really enjoyed “Where I Found You” recently, but was distinctly unimpressed by “One Day” – I was expecting so much better, but I actually found it quite badly written. Popcorn and reading – there isn’t a better combination!

 photo c1f3f2b9-db92-4479-b6e8-9a5a2bc6d213_zps094cf7f3.jpgIt’s been a quiet October really. We celebrated our fourth anniversary of being together (over Skype), paid to cook our own steak, I’ve found my favourite budget beauty buy of the year, and I’ve started applying for summer internships. To finish off the month, I found out I’d won the #CurrysStudentHacks with this post, and now have a shiny Chromebook on its way to me – no more lugging my laptop up and down the country every few weeks! And tonight I’m off out dressed up to an awards evening with my boyfriend – expect a post about my lovely dress very shortly!

How was your October?

What’s Occurring Wednesday: September Favourites

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone! The 12 months since last September has been pretty tough for me, but I’m pleased to say things are looking a lot brighter now. I’m pretty useless at regular series of posts so I thought I’d hide behind my WOW posts and occasionally post monthly favourites. Something I swore I’d never do as they actually drive me crazy. My favourites are going to be pretty lifestyle-y though, and hopefully not too many ‘posed’ photographs, with most being taken throughout the month. *justifying myself*

This month I’ve virtually lived in pyjamas. Being ill, tired and my living situation (living with three lab mixes = a lot of hair) means wearing proper clothes after work felt like a bit of a waste, so I’ve been climbing into PJs virtually straight away. I did invest in some slightly less ‘sleepy’ looking ones though – I’ve fallen in love with ones fitted at the ankle, and I could just about get away with popping to the corner shops in them if I really had to. I’ve actually stolen this image from Pinterest though (cheeky!)…I couldn’t find the one I took!

 photo 2014-09-27203207_zpsce380b12.jpgI’ve developed a bit of a peanut butter addiction. Not only have I taken to scooping it out of the jar with dark chocolate (shush!) and baking yummy treats with it, but I’ve been eating ice cream and hot drinks laced with the stuff. I loved the Peanut Butter hottie, although it was a little sweet. Perfect for before bed as it made me feel really sleepy. Shame about the price…

Our Zoo. I wasn’t expecting much from this program, but I was hooked from the first episode when I accidentally left my TV on after Bake Off. Such a good period drama – decent story line, believeable characters, some excellent acting (particularly from the vicar), and it’s nice to see something without any kind of sexual scenes. I’m no prude, but sometimes I just want something easy to watch on the train without funny looks from the person next to me…

Other than being ill, lazy and working, much of the past month has been spent starting to look for a dress for my 21st (less than 9 weeks to go!). Not sure whether I’m more excited about my birthday, or the fact that it will be the first bit of time I have off work since I started in July. I’m looking for something lacy but different, either in black, plum or a nice green/navy. Not too long, but I don’t mind a bit of cleavage. I’ve fallen in love with this dress (and this one) from Anthropologie, my new favourite shop. How gorgeous is the first one?! Way out of my budget though…