Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Another Year Over - 2014

2014 is nearly over - it's nearly time for the "dry January" (pssh), diet adverts on TV (sorry let me finish my macaroons first) and having to queue for the showers at the gym (more tortuous than the actual exercise). But before the new year's resolutions kick in, let's enjoy a final guilt free G&T and reflect on the year gone by.

This blog turned five in 2014 - crazy to think I've been blogging for longer than I've been working or was at university for. In the real world I became a homeowner which I try not to think about too much because its really all quite terrifying but mortgages, wedding chit-chat (not mine), quarter-life crises and "help I'm destined to die alone surrounded by cats because that guy didn't WhatsApp me back" moments aside, 2014 was when I (mostly) enjoyed still being young(ish) and free(ish) and feeling like (almost) anything is possible - here's to more of that in 2015!

Jet-setting all over the world - Annecy for snow and skiing, Paris in the springtime, Barcelona for Primavera (2014 was definitely an amazing year for rediscovering my love of live music), Glastonbury for an amazing time while not washing, Jersey, Glasgow (brr!), China, Paris again and Dubai for Christmas!
Fun in London - Book Benches, Year of The Bus and Paddington.
Food, Glorious Food! Afternoon tea at The Modern Pantry, cocktails at One Aldwych, veggie delights at Mildreds, breakfast at The Breakfast Club, brunch at Bill's, Mad Hatter's Tea Party at The Sanderson
Phew! So that was 2014. Before putting this post together I was thinking "pssh nothing happened this year" but it's good to look back (albeit through a rose-tinted social media-ised lens) and realise that it wasn't too bad after all. Enjoy (and behave) yourselves tonight and let's get ready to do it all again tomorrow. Or, to use the words of around half of my Facebook friends, "it's been a great year, thanks for being a part of it!".

Happy New Year! xxx


Monday, 29 December 2014

December Empties

Ending 2014 with a rather "basic blog" post but when attempting to tidy up my flat I found this collection of empties crying out to be photographed and then binned.

Left to right: Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo (last product from my Aussie Angel days!), Bioderma (always one I bulk buy when in France), Dermatologica Daily Microexfoliant (definite repurchase), Angel, Kiehls Calendula Toner, Richard Ward Keratin Volume Shampoo and Conditioner, Barry M topcoat, Marc Jacobs Dot (25th birthday present so lasted a long time!),  Maybelline Cossosal Volume Mascara, Clinique Mascara Mini.

What products have you finished this month?

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas in Dubai

Yes, they do have Christmas over here! Hope you're all having a lovely one, wherever you are. (If Santa wasn't generous then may the last sale item of your desire be in your size!)


Monday, 22 December 2014

December In Pictures

If you follow me on Instagram you'll see that I'm currently in sunnier climes but with Christmas only two sleeps away I thought I'd share some festive (and other) snaps from December in London:

Christmas trees in Paternoster Square
Obligatory Christmas jumper for #Christmasjumperday
Making "choccy road" as a last minute edible Christmas gift - buy ingredients from 24 hour Tesco Metro, melt chocolate, mix everything up and pop in the fridge overnight 
Southbank Christmas while out on a chilly run
My friend S's Christmas cooking is better than mine - cute little pastry trees at her annual pre-Christmas party.
Florentines and chocolate money.
Home made cakes.
Christmas Lush bathbomb to warm up!
Partying like its 1920 for my friend H's birthday party.

The Manic Street Preachers playing The Holy Bible at the Roundhouse - typical short person gig snap!
How have you been getting in the festive mood?

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas at Jackson and Rye

Finding a suitable Christmas lunch spot for seven fussy discerning diners is no easy feat. We discussed ideas in a Christmas dining version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears "too far away" "too expensive" "too chain restaurant-y" "too Christmassy" "too un-Christmassy". Luckily, the Christmas menu at Jackson and Rye looked pretty good and at a time of year where our wallets are being a bit mis-treated isn't extortionately expensive. I love how the menu caters for Christmas loves, non-Christmas lovers and veggies too.

We were booked in for 3.30pm so half of the team distracted ourselves from hunger with a visit to the Chris Stein / Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk exhibition at Somerset House. The exhibition is a free one with some great photographs - Debbie Harry was (and still is) a bit of a babe. The Somerset House Christmas market was visited too, great for last minute gifts and the ice rink is always beautiful.

These girls.
It's Christmas - Deuce Royale for me
We exchanged Secret Santa presents and Sarah got me this lovely marathon-themed gift - so thoughtful and I will actually use everything (I thought, taking a large sip of my cocktail to push away any more thoughts about running 26 miles in FOUR MONTHS TIME)
After present opening and Christmas card giving the food arrived! I had the Market Soup to start - not the most exciting sounding on paper (but I am fussy and knew I'd like this regardless) but it was so well presented.
Table talk.
The rest of the Dream Team had the Mac n Cheese (topped with kale - the veg of 2014) which was approved of by all.
Soup Porn.
Buttermilk turkey won the main course vote for the rest of the team.
I had crab cakes because I'm a rebel. Both came with a crunchy slaw. I pinched a couple of Aisling's chips and they were crisp and perfect.
Peanut butter cookies and milk ice cream - sorry for the poor dessert photos, the restaurant turned the lights down to lull as into a post lunch slumber just before they were served.
I had Christmas pudding because there is one traditional Christmas food that I do like! I secretly love dried fruit (probably the most uncool food item ever) and this was so fruity and good.
After post lunch chats (mainly about how we all wanted a nice nap) we headed out into the dark, full of lovely food, Christmas cheer and another-year-over-already-?-panic at saying "see you in 2015!".

Favourite Christmas food?


Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Survival Kit with Alibi and Balance Me

No, I can't believe it's nearly Christmas either.

This is always a crazy time of year with shopping to do (haven't done half of it), Christmas parties to attend (successfully survived work Christmas party sans embarrassment), Christmas food to eat (I had Quality Street for lunch last week, does that count) and Christmas jumpers to be worn (bought one in Primark, guilty as charged).

It's no wonder that this time of year can leave us feeling a bit frazzled. I've forgotten to buy wrapping paper, have already worn my one "party dress" to two parties and still haven't quite come to terms with adult life not consisting of a three week "break" where I can go home and revert to my teenage self.

With the silly season in full swing these deliveries from Alibi and Balance Me couldn't have come at a better time:

Alibi is a "healthy fizzy drink" which comes in three fruity flavours. I loved the sparkling citrus flavour the best - so refreshing! The drinks contain vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to add to their healthy credentials and only 99 calories per can and no refined sugar or nasty artificial sweeteners. For an additional party season boost the drinks contain Milk Thistle, a natural remedy thought to help with hangovers and are super hydrating to help offset the effects of too many cocktails.

I had these to try to combat the dreaded 4pm slump and did feel more virtuous than reaching for a coffee or something sweet to perk me up. There are so many colds going around at the moment and so far (*touches wood*) I've managed to avoid them despite my diet being less than ideal (barely remembering the last meal you didn't eat at your desk isn't really a recipe for getting your 5-a-day) so I'd like to think the vitamins have done me some good!

Balance Me is a brand I've blogged about my love for before - all the products I've tried from them so far are lovely, the price points are great for natural beauty products and my local Waitrose sells them so I can sneak a couple of bits into my basket and claim I am "food shopping". The Radiance Face Mask is perfect for this time of year - whether you're looking for a pre-party boost or a wind down after a long day in the office. The clay-based mask is suitable for all skin types and promises to cleanse, exfoliate and brighten skin.

After using this mask my skin felt smooth and soft and it only needs five minutes to work its magic. This time of year is hard on our skin with the drying effects of the cold and central heating, complexion dulling late nights and the fact that booze and Quality Street are hardly known for creating a glowing complexion but this face mask must just be a skin savior and I'm definitely adding it to my winter skincare routine.

What's in your Christmas survival kit?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Edible Christmas Gifts - Rocky Road Cupcakes

Now, you all know that I'm not much of a domestic goddess but I fancied making some edible Christmas gifts as it's always nice to give something homemade and everyone I know has far too much stuff already and edible gifts do not usually last for very long! (Well, that's my hope with these).

I made some rocky road cupcakes - they are so easy and can be made vegan and gluten free if you so choose, just check the packaging of what you buy. Mine are vegan but are definitely not healthy!

I adapted a recipe I found online but the beauty of these cakes is that you don't really need to be too precise with the measurements, I don't own a scale so just guessed and they turned out fine.

Gather ingredients. I used half the chocolate, half the biscuits, a small handful each of the dates and cherries, one spoon of Golden Syrup and a splash of unpictured almond milk. The chocolate, biscuits and fruit can be switched for your favourites - you could even add mini marshmallows or nuts or experiment with different biscuits. Post not affiliated with Waitrose, its just my nearest food shop, sorry wallet!
Melt the chocolate with the syrup and almond milk. in the microwave, as it gets more melty do it in short bursts to avoid burning the chocolate.
Chop fruits. Lazy tip - use scissors rather than a knife.
Put biscuits in a zip lock bag. Crush with rolling pin or bottle of gin if you don't own a rolling pin.
Add biscuits to melted chocolate.
Mix in fruits.
Spoon mixture into cupcake cakes, sprinkle with edible bronze and leave to set in the fridge.
Are you making any homemade gifts this year?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Foodies Festival

Kicking off the festivities last weekend with the Foodies Festival at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. I had a great day sampling different foods, getting into the Christmas spirit and spending time with Internet and "real life" friends - now they know that one another really exists! The festival was crazily busy but I got some snaps:


The retro-style band.

Pink gin is a thing.
Balancing out the naughtiness.
Vintage afternoon tea.
Kooky Bakes' whoppie pies (best name for a food ever!)
Glenn from GBBO!
A gift from Wild at Heart - super fruity jam.
It was great to see some of my favourite street food sellers like Kooky Bakes, balance out some of the naughtiness with a Sweetly Simple green smoothie and try Candy Kittens (Jamie from MIC's brand). My parents and I are enjoying working our way through the Wild at Heart jam, too!

I'll definitely be back next year for more foodie fun!
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