Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Carry on packing list

Hey guys....

I've been preparing for my trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin next weekend.  Since Im writing out my lists on what to pack and what I need for my carry on luggage, I thought I would share what I always take with me to help on the trip.

Carry on survival  kit.

1. Handbag - Its taken me years to find a handbag that I like to take on a plane, I prefer a messenger style bag so that I can sling it over my should, I don't have to hold it in long queues but it has lots of pockets for passport, ticket etc.

2.  Face wipes - I am probably quite strange in that I take my make up off when i get on the plan with a face wipe and moisturise and then again before I landing.

3.  Eyedrops - I always use eyedrops on a flight, it help to keep your eyes hydrated and bright.

4.  Toothbrush - This can make you feel human again after sitting for so many hours

5.  Hand sanitizer - Did you know most people are not made sick by what they breath in but by what they touch - you cant trust everyone to be as clean as you are.

6. Deodorant - its just necessary!

7. Kindle Fire - Its all my entertainment rolled into one little package.  

8.  Magazine - for when they tell you not to use you kindle even though its in airplane mode!

9. Noise cancelling earphones - even if you just want to sleep, they will make it so much easier

10. Clean top - just in case me or someone else spills something on me 

11. Snacks - plane food, even when it is available is gross, it always makes me feel bloated.  So now I just refuse it and enjoy some of my favourite snacks brought from home instead.  

Is there anything you think I've forgotten? Or anything that you think that would make my flight more enjoyable?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

LovelyLinks...Autumn Fashion For Your Home

I've been on a little bit of an Autumn shopping bender lately. I've been stocking up on all of my favourite essentials, the things that make Autumn and Winter cosy and cheerful for me and I'll be posting about those on Monday. 

Today I wanted to show you some of the things that I am considering for our home this Autumn. 
I like to have neutral walls and furnishings so that we can update the room each season and keep things fresh and interesting.

Autumn for me is all about getting cosy so I've been on the lookout for new blankets, cushions and candles. 

The links below are a few of my favourites:

  • I love a pretty candle, especially at this time of year, and this candle from Zara Home is one of my favourites. Its beautifully carved and intricate, a statement piece that will look great in any setting.

  • I'm pretty crazy about scented candles too and Yankee Candles make my two favourites, this one, which is perfect for this time of year as its autumnal without being too festive, and this one, which is pretty much all out Christmas in a candle!

  • We actually bought two of these cushion covers last Autumn and they are still available from Dunelm Mill. I love the tartan and they are back on our sofa again for this season. They look festive without being totally-all-out Christmassy. We are in the market for a few more to add to these two this year.

  • I love this cushion also from H&M, it just looks so squishy and comfortable yet also very elegant. 

  • I tend to go a little red crazy at this time of year and this blanket from H&M ticks all the boxes for me. Its a beautiful colour, a gorgeous knitted pattern and is big enough to fit two people under it for sofa cuddles ;)

  • Last but not least I think that this decanter and matching glasses from Next are a great idea and since I'm a big lover of mulled wine this is at the top of my shopping list right now. 

So has anybody else been thinking of a few seasonal buys lately? 
Found any gems?
Leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Autumn Tag!

I love Autumn, I'm literally an all singing, all dancing happy girlie on September 1st! I have seen 'The Autumn Tag' on a few blogs recently (Makeup Pixi3, who actually created the tag and the pretty graphic above, and here to name a couple) so I wanted to join in and you like the cool kids ;) 

So without further ado...

The Autumn Tag

1.  Favourite thing about it?  I love cosy nights in but I'm not overly fond of dark mornings so Autumn is the perfect time of year for me, the mornings aren't too dark yet but the evenings are perfect for a cosy fire and lighting a few candles. I'm also crazy in love with the colours of the leaves and the fresh crisp air, is it just me or am I the only one who loves the smell of Autumn?

2.  Favourite drink?  I love a good cup of tea as much as the next person but at this time of year I tend to go a little nuts for hot chocolate, add some cinnamon and a marshmallow or two and I'm in heaven!

3.  Favourite scent/candle?  My favourite perfume of all time is Liz Earle Botanical Essence No15, its warm and spicy with just a little sweetness and its perfect for this time of year. For candles I love Yankee Cadles in either Cinnamon Stick or (my favourite) Mandarin Cranberry which is a little bit christmassy but not so much that you feel weird burning it all year round.

4.  Best lipstick?  I wear coral colours all summer long and in winter I'm all about the red lip but when September hits I usually go with pinky nude or brownish-peach lips. My favourites right now are Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butter in Creme Brulee and Lime Crime Babette.

5.  Go to moisturiser?  I have pretty dry skin with a lot of redness which is a nightmare to take care of but I've recently been loving L'oreal's new skincare Skin Perfection range. Their new moisturiser and serum have been great at evening out my skin tone and moisturising without leaving oiliness. For lipbalm it has to be Carmex Moisture Stick in Peach, I have used Carmex since high school and I'm loving the new tinted version.

6.  Go to colours for the eyes?  I like warm browns and coppery colours, they seem to really bring out the blue in my eyes. Favourites are Urban Decay's Chopper and Tease, both of which are in the Naked 2 Palette and Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24hr in On &On Bronze.

7.  Favourite music or band/singer to listen to?  I really love the Drive soundtrack, it's such great chillout music and I tend to drift towards that kind of style at this time of year. 

8.  Favourite outfit to wear?  Grey skinny jeans, these Tan knee boots and anything burgundy or wine coloured, a cardigan or jumper and a big chunky knit scarf, I'm liking this taupe and coral one from Forever 21 for a splash of colour on grey days.  

9.  Autumn treat? I love getting all set for Autumn and Winter, getting new boots and a coat is usually my favourite treat at this time of year. I've also got some new comfy slippers (I'm so darn rock n' roll) and will be getting some new nail colours too, probably a dark red and maybe a bottle green colour. 

10.  Favourite place to be?  In front of the fire with the hubby and our fur baby Fudge, preferably with a hot chocolate, listening to the wind and rain. 

This was such a fun post to write! Hope you enjoyed it. 
Leave a comment below and feel free to let me know your favourite things about Autumn too!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Pretty Craft Storage

After I finished my craft room transformation I wanted to make some pretty things for it. 

I love pretty!!

 However I didn't want to spend any money though.  
I'm on a thrifty spree at the minute! 

I shopped the house and found this box in the cupboard (see I knew it would be useful!)

I chose pretty paper from my collection,  I believe I got it in the Hallmark store.  

Isn't it adorable! Even better because it was free!!!

It was really easy, I used a spray adhesive on the box, after I had cut the paper to size and it fitted so well

This is it in location, I have to say I really love it, it makes me smile and it used up some of the many rolls of wrapping paper sitting around! 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Easy 'Eton Mess' Style Dessert

When we go all out for Sunday dinner or cook up something special for a mid-week supper we like to have dessert, well, really we just like dessert and will use any excuse at all to have some haha ;)

One of our favourites is an easy variation on 'Eton Mess' which normally consists of meringue, double cream and strawberries. We make our version with sour cream, crème fraiche and a ton of chocolate!

There are a lot of different ways of making something that resembles Eton Mess, my mother in law makes her version with greek yoghurt instead of cream and it's awesome because the yoghurt is silky and creamy without being as heavy as the double cream. 

For us however no dessert is complete without the addition of chocolate and we find that the tart flavour and silky smoothness of sour cream and crème fraiche mixed together is the perfect partner for crunchy meringue and sweet chocolate. We use low fat creams because there so much chocolate and meringue you can't taste the difference and I like to try and limit the amount of damage to my waistline where I can! You can also add less chocolate if you feel its too much but we are chocoholics in this house so we just throw it all in.

Its super easy to make (you literally just have to stir it together!) and is great to throw together at the last minute so its fab for parties or just as a treat after Sunday dinner.

The recipe below will yield enough for four generous portions so you can multiply as needed to feed more.


6 ready made meringue nests
300ml Creme Fraiche/Low fat Creme Fraiche 
300ml Sour Cream/ Low fat Sour Cream
A handful of strawberries or other berry fruit.
2 Crunchie Bars
2 40g bags of Malteasers
2 Flakes
60ml of Berry Fruit Coulis (optional)

1. Crumble two of the meringue nests into the bottom of a large bowl or jug. If you add all the nests they will start to dissolve pretty quick so I add one into each individual bowl instead of adding them all now, adding two at this stage will sweeten the sour cream just enough to make it delicious. 

2. Add the creams to the jug or bowl and stir well to mix in the meringue. 

3. Use a rolling pin to smash up all the chocolate.

4. Add the chocolate the cream and meringue mixture and stir. 

5.Try not to eat it yet.
(I always fail at this part)

6. Dice up the fruit and add to the mixture. (*bad blogger alert* I totally forgot to take pictures of this stage, to be fair I was more interested in eating it once I saw all the chocolate so its amazing there are any pics at all!)

7. Add one crushed meringue to the bottom of each bowl and spoon the mixture on top.

*optional* 8. Add a tablespoonful of fruit coulis on top of each bowl and swirl to give a pretty effect. You could even add a little jug of this to the table so everyone can add more if they wish, it really does just finish this dessert off beautifully and it tastes delicious. 

Ta Dah!!!! Doesn't it look gorgeous? It tastes even better believe me!

So that is my easy peasy dessert, totally foolproof and everyone always loves it. 
You can adjust it in so many ways, less chocolate more strawberries, 
maybe raspberries and blackberries instead 
or even add little bits of chopped nuts or fudge for some pizazz.
The possibilities are endless and delicious!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe, any questions just comment below and Ill get back to you asap. 
I'm in the mood for a little dessert now, anyone care to join me?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Craft Room Transformation

I spent this weekend transforming the spare room into a guest/craft room.  I had a very small budget to work with so most of the pieces are things we already had.  Advance warning,  I haven't finished yet but I like to see progress on a project as people are doing it so that's what you guys are getting too.

This is what we had to work with, when we moved in, there was a lot of 
family coming to stay for the wedding so we just put in the bed and that was it.  

Now that I see the photos, I'm not sure I love the layout but it seems to
 give me the most room to work at the desk.

The oak drawers were in my husbands old bedroom so we got those when we moved

The green cabinet was given to me by my aunt when she was clearing out her garage,  it was scratched mdf and so I sanded, primed and painted it.  I used Morris Blue from Craig & Rose 1829 Acrylic Eggshell paints

I used these little ice buckets that were left over from the sweetie table at our wedding.  I plan to make labels for them so I know what is in each bucket.  

I found this desk in Auld tat in Ballymoney, they have some amazing pieces for sale.  

This beautiful doll was given to me by my mother-in-law at my wedding, she hand-knitted her dress and train.  Isn't she amazing!

So that is my little craft room, where I can hopefully create in
 peace without my craft stuff ending up all over the house.

So what do you think? Does anyone else have a craft room or closet?  
How do you manage your craft storage

Monday, 9 September 2013


A snippet of life lately...

Tying...So. Many. Knots. I've been wrapping my headphones this week, mainly because they look awesome but also because it stops them from getting tangled in my bag. I watched a couple of videos on youtube (this one and this one) and then just went for it. I'm nearly done and they look super cute!

This is how my headphones are looking so far...cute no??

Cooking... So, in a bid to eat more home cooked fresh food I am continuing on my little chef journey this month and these yummy burgers from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food cookbook are what we had for dinner tonight. They were delicious and really easy, which is my favourite kind of cooking :) I have no idea why there are cream crackers in these burgers or what purpose they serve but all I can say is it works. We've had these twice now and they are really tender, not at all greasy and packed full of flavour.

Watching...In the spirit of learning how to cook I've been watching the Food Network channel which I have recently discovered has been added to our freeview box. I'm a little bit addicted I think, I love "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" simply for the weird and wonderful food (it literally makes me hungry every time I watch it!) and the awesome cakes on "Amazing Wedding Cakes"

Reading...This book by Tess Thompson. This is the third in her River Valley Collection and I really enjoyed the first two (one & two & both) which I read over the summer. These are the kind of books I like to read before bed, nothing too heavy, just a bit of light hearted, mushy romance and a wee bit of a mystery thrown in. Don't get me wrong, I love a book with depth that really grabs you but sometimes you just want to zone out. Romance novels or "chick-lit" are my version of watching reality tv.

Buying...I go through phases of not really buying much make-up or any beauty products and just enjoy using what I have for ages but eventually I will yearn for new products to play with. Lately I have been on a make-up spending spree, I've bought a ton of new stuff and I'm really enjoying playing with it all. I've also been eyeing up some new make-up storage (maybe this to keep my favourite things at hand) and some new brushes. I've asked Santa (aka my hubby) to buy me this Sigma set for Christmas but in the meantime I've been eyeing up these Real Techniques brushes. I keep hearing soo many good things about them and most of my brushes are ancient and are falling apart so I might be naughty and order them this weekend. Has anyone else tried them? 

Enjoying...catching up on my favourite youtubers! I've been on a youtube bender this week haha ;) I have so many subscriptions but my favourites are sweet little Zoella, a British beauty blogger/youtuber, her brother ThatcherJoe, Jim Chapman who always makes me laugh, his fiancée make up guru Tanya Burr and the always funny and adorable Tyler Oakley, an american blogger who just happens to be friends with all the awesome brit bloggers. I also love Jacklyn Hill and Nicole Guerriero, two american beauty gurus that are so inspiring and fun to watch. There are so many great youtube channels, these are only a handful of favourites. Anyone else have any recommendations for channels or vloggers I just have to watch? 

So that's what I've been up to lately. How bout you guys? 
Am I the only one who's loving the food network?

Friday, 6 September 2013

Craft Room Inspiration

I enjoy a variety of crafts and especially love trying new ones.  The only slight downside is my house is cluttered with supplies.  I realised I needed to create a separate space in the house for crafting.

I decided to use the space in the guest room, I want it to be dual purpose - a guest bedroom & a craft room.  I've been gathering all my supplies together so that I can work out what storage I will need.

As always when I start a project I start researching, I browse magazines, the internet an blogs.  I wanted to share some of the inspiration I got with you.

I love the wicker magazine files on the shelves, I do love wicker!

Such pretty storage options!

I love this one, it's perfect for a spare bedroom.

I'm going to be working on transforming my craft room over the weekend so I'm going to show you my progress on Wednesday.  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Jamie Oliver's Easy Roast Chicken

I have a confession to make...I am a terrible cook. Well, it's not like I burn everything I make, its just that everything I make comes out of a packet..or a jar...or a box. Basically, I can't cook anything from scratch. 

Until now. 

I promised myself (and my poor husband) that I would learn to cook a few things from scratch this year, nothing fancy, just good tasty home cooked food. I now know how to make (among other things) carrot and lentil soup, cottage pie, steak and chips and, as of Sunday, a roast chicken dinner!

Ta Dah!!! Doesn't it look delicious. (It totally was!)

I ever so slightly adapted this recipe from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food book. When I say adapted what I really mean is that I couldn't find fresh Thyme at the supermarket so I had to make do with dried and I didn't add any garlic as my husband hates it. 

I also used this recipe for the gravy and this one for the roast veg and potatoes, both again from the Ministry of Food book. I added a little honey to the veg and some good old fashioned Bisto gravy powder to the gravy and they were both delicious. 

Jamie uses a vegetable trivet underneath the chicken which you can then use to make the gravy. I have to say it really was surprising quick to prepare it all as the veg only needed very roughly chopped. 

I parboiled some potatoes, carrots and parsnips before tossing them in a little oil, a little honey and some salt and pepper before putting them in the oven to roast in the bottom of the oven. I made some mashed potatoes too (because you can't have Sunday dinner without mashed potatoes) and I used a potato ricer to get them nice and fluffy.

I basted the chicken with juices in the bottom of the oven every now and then and the skin came out really crispy but not at all dry. The meat literally just fell off the bones it was so tender. I was so impressed that I not only managed to not mess the whole thing up, I actually loved the end result! This chicken is foolproof and gorgeous. 

I was so excited about using our lovely wedding china that I may have left the roast veg in the oven a few minutes longer than I should have so the veg was definitely crispy! It was still gorgeously sticky and sweet though so I didn't mind too much.

. *note to self - stop taking pictures of the pretty table setting next time and remember you are supposed to be cooking!*

I think it actually went really well for a first time. I'm so excited to learn more recipes and I love the idea of being able to cook a Sunday roast for my wee family, especially if we have kids in the future. I think I would like to learn how to cook roast beef next. 

I have a ton of cookbooks but I have to say I really enjoy Jamie Oliver's books. He seems to cater to people like me who are complete beginners and doesn't assume that everyone on the planet knows how to do simple things (like make gravy) and I find his recipes easy to follow. 

Does anyone have any good cookbook recommendations? Or any really great, can't live without, recipes they want to share?
I would really love to add a few more to my repertoire.