Wednesday, 27 August 2014

'A Bit of Everything' Blondie

To commemorate the long bank holiday weekend, I decided to bake! What better time than on a bank holiday,when you have nothing else to do and nowhere else to be, to bring out your culinary skills in the kitchen! I spent my extra day of holiday going on an intense bike ride in the rain, followed by a nice hot bath then made these delicious blondies to counteract all my exercise and spent all afternoon on the sofa eating them whilst watching a film!

I decided to have a go at making some blondies after being inspired by Helen from The Lovecats Inc. She recently put up a recipe of her chocolate bar blondies and I had to give them a go.They are pretty easy to make, especially for those not so skilled in the kitchen department, like myself, so the perfect baking fix in an easy form! 

I adapted Helens recipe slightly by adding pretty much every chocolate I could find! This recipe includes Crunchie, Mars Planets, Malteasers, Oreos and Peanut Butter Cups. I also used some 'Fluff' which I bought back from my recent trip to America. This made the Blondies super gooey and sticky- just how I like them! I also doubled the quantities because I am a fatty! Ha... it actually wasn't intentional to double the quantities, I added too much baking powder so instead of fishing it out from the normal flour, I just added extra of everything else, makes sense! So lets get on with how to cook these little beauties...

Ingredients:
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
350g light brown sugar
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
150g unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp fluff (optional)
2 eggs
Chocolate- I used 1 x bag of Mars Planets, 1 x Crunchie bar, 1x bag of Maltesers 1 x packet of Oreos and a few Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 
Begin by pre-heating your oven to 175C and line a baking tray of your choice with tin foil or baking paper. Chop up all your chosen chocolate into random chunks. I left some of my malteasers whole and chopped up some, depends on what you feel like, go crazy with it!
Next, mix together you flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. 
Melt your butter in a saucepan and then add to a separate bowl, along with the sugar, vanilla essence and a whisked egg. 
Add the contents of the bowl to your flour mixture and fold together. Add in a few spoonfuls of Fluff (if you have it). I used about 2 tablespoons worth. 
Finally add in the chopped up chocolate and then pour everything into the baking try and spread evenly.
Bake the mixture for about 35 minutes, or until they look like they are cooked...
Finally leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before chopping them up into chunks and indulging to the extreme. 
So there you have it- simple and easy to make and will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth and make you feel very naughty but in a really wonderful way. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Navy and Yellow

I look a bit like I've been sponsored by Zara here as the dress and the coat are both from there. This outfit features some of my favourite 'dressy' pieces, perfect for a sophisticated dinner. I actually got this whole outfit back in May for my birthday! The dress was a present from my Mum, the coat was from my boyfriend and the bag from my brother and sister-in-law! I have wanted this Whistles bag for absolutely ages but could never justify spending that much money on a present to myself- so my birthday was the perfect time for me to get my hands on it. I also wear this coat all the time and although literally everyone has it (I sat next to someone on the tube recently wearing exactly the same one!!) I absolutely love it! I never thought I would wear yellow but it surprisingly goes with a lot of things and brightens up any outfit. I wore this at the weekend when I went out for dinner and to the theatre with my boyfriend. This was actually another birthday present from my Mum (notice a theme here) that I have finally got round to redeeming! We went to see Wicked which is one of my all-time favourite shows and out for a lovely dinner at Dim T. We had such a nice evening and now I'm busy planning my next theatre trip! 
Dress- Zara
Coat- Zara
Shoes- Topshop
Bag- Whistles
Watch- Uniform Wares

Friday, 15 August 2014

Costa's #HelloSummerMoments Blogger Challenge

All this week I have been taking part in Costa's #HelloSummerMoments Blogger Challenge. The challenge was to document a number of 'Summer Moments' whilst enjoying the new summer menu from Costa Coffee.

The new menu is amazing with a ridiculous amount of yummy cakes and ice drinks, I had to try most of them before deciding on my favourites! Here is my Selfie with my favourite iced drink from the new menu- the Caramel Latte Coffee Cooler.
I then created this summer outfit inspired by the colours of the Strawberry and Lime Fruit Cooler- another personal favourite of mine. 
Skirt- Zara
Top-Topshop
Jacket- Camden Market
Shoes- Topshop
Bag- Alphabet Bags


The next challenge was to create a 'Costa Summer' inspired manicure. I hold my hands up as being the worst nail-art painter in the world, so this was more than a challenge for me!! I decided to try and keep it simple and I used Essie's 'Haute in the Heat' and 'Tea and Crumpets' to create this lovely design (ahem) inspred by the most delicous cake you will ever try! The Raspberry Ripple Fancy' - I have got through 3 of this week... ! 



Finally I took out the newest member of the family- my brothers adorable puppy- to the park for some fun in the sun with my boyfriend whilst we enjoyed our Caramel Latte Coffee Cooler. The  drink was so good, even she wanted a piece of it and she very much enjoyed licking the condensation off the outside of the cup!


So there you have my #HelloSummerMoments Blogger Challenge. I had a really fun time doing all the challenges and had even more fun eating lots of cakes, coffees and coolers. However, now I am not going to be able to go a day without thinking about that Raspberry Ripple Fancy.... 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

My Top 3: Mascaras

My number one cant-live-without, take to a desert island beauty essential is mascara. If I could have one item of make up for the rest of my life I would choose mascara. I can go out the house with no make up at all bar a slick of mascara and I'm fine, but as soon as I don't have my mascara on, I don't feel like me! I like to think of myself as a bit of a mascara queen and have tried pretty much every product on the market to find my number 1! Therefore, I thought I would share with you my all-time favourite mascaras which I re-purchase again and again and can do no wrong in my eyes! 

1) Top spot has to go to my ultimate mascara. It is the Pur Minerals Big Look. This is a mascara that I have only discovered quite recently and I am absolutely hooked! It really does do what it says on the can- it makes your eyelashes so long and voluminous. Pur Minerals is an American brand and the mascara is definitely one of their hero products and much loved by its fans. They also do a waterproof version which I have yet to try but I am sure will be a holiday essential if I ever get one this year... The mascara really lifts the lashes and adds length to them to give a really wide -eyed look. I also love using mascara on the bottom eyelashes to open up the eye area and this mascara gets right to the corners to catch every lash. 

2) Second place goes to one that I have been using for years and go back to again and again when a new brand doesn't quite cut it. The L'Oreal Million Lashes mascara is one of the best I have tried. I like the Volume Extra Black version which is fab at really building up the lashes and giving you that extra bit of definition. I don't normally like the plastic brushes but I find this one works really well and again, it picks up every lash- even in the corners of your eyes. 

3) Finally there is the beautiful looking Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. Aside from the amazing name and the gorgeous packaging this mascara really hits the spot as a great mascara. The consistency of this is a little thicker than your average mascara, therefore it is great for building volume. I often use my Big Look first then Better Than Sex on top if I want more volume- especially for a night time look. The mascara also gives the illusion of more lashes than you have- another huge plus point. Plus, this product looks fab in your make up bag! However, better than sex? That is still up for debate! 

What is your favourite mascara? Have you tried any of these? 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Feeling Fruity

Everyone loves a co-ord, and even better when it has pineapples all over it! I am absolutely in love with this little two-piece that I bought recently from Daisystreet. It was about £25 for the top and skirt, an absolute bargain which can be worn together for the full effect or individually for a subtle look. I wore this outfit for a casual bit of shopping and lunch in the park at the weekend. I wore it with the trousers during the day then switched to the skirt for the evening- the perfect transitional outfit! I am also wearing my amazing Topshop shoes which I actually bought ages ago but they have been sitting in their box on my bedroom floor for weeks. I bought them as a replacement to my beloved white chunky heels which are literally falling apart as I wear them all the time. However, these are a bit too high and not quite as comfy so I think I will mostly be wearing them for nights out rather than pounding the streets of London during the day. 

On another note, I have finally got round to nabbing my sister-in-law once again to use her photographic skills as whenever I get my mum to take my outfit photos on my crappy camera it just doesn't cut it! Hence why I haven't done an outfit post in aaaages! But my photographer has returned and I can't wait to get lots of posts up now, so watch this space... Check out her website and facebook page to see some of her other beautiful photography work, and if you know of anyone getting married soon- she is the best wedding photographer! ;) 
Co-ord- Daisystreet
Trousers- Topshop
Shoes- Topshop
Bag- Accessorize
Watch- Uniform Wares
Ring-Folli Follie
Sunglasses-Versace 


Monday, 28 July 2014

Handbags and Watches

A couple of weeks ago I went on a little trip to Harrods to spend some earnings! Whilst browsing all the beautiful concessions, my wish-list grew and grew and I couldn't decide on just one purchase as there were so many gorgeous handbags, purses and watches, choosing something to spend that much money on was very hard. I always said that when I got my first proper pay cheque I would splash out on a designer handbag. However, the dream is so very often not the reality when you realise you will not be able to survive if you spend your money on a handbag! Therefore, this dream was soon squashed. But what's the harm in dreaming? I find it quite hard to part with my hard earned so when I know I am going to be making an investment, I will make sure I always do my research and spend a lot of time thinking about it. As many of us are guilty of, I often rush into purchases and my wardrobe is over-run with clothes, shoes and products which I never wear or use. Therefore, I have decided to think about a potential purchase a lot, and if I am still thinking about it in a couple of months then it must be love! Therefore, I have put together a little wish-list for when I've made the big time and can afford to indulge in one of these luxuries.


As you can see, it's all about the classic handbags for me with a couple of watches thrown in for good measure. I am definitely a bag girl rather than a shoe girl! I also think you can't go wrong with a classic black bag and therefore I will definitely be investing in a black one when my time comes! Although, I am completely in love with the blue Givenchy one, I just don't think I would get as much mileage out of it! I think my favourite out of these is the Hugo Boss one as it is such a simple classic, but who knows, in a few weeks I will have probably changed my mind! What do you think? 

*sponsored post 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tortilla Review

Last weekend my boyfriend and I were treated to a lovely lunch from the wonderful people at Tortilla. We decided to visit the Oxford Circus branch as we were busy splashing the cash on Oxford Street on Sunday and a trip to Tortilla was just what we needed after all the strenuous shopping we endured.

If you haven't heard about it before, Tortilla is a fast food restaurant which serves delicious Californian style Mexican food. I must say, I think Mexican food has to be my favourite type of food at the moment and there's nothing I love more than a huge burrito or black bean salad for lunch. Therefore, I was super excited to try what Tortilla had to offer to see whether it would sway me away from my fist love: Chipotle. 

The first thing I noticed when entering the restaurant was the amazing decor. The place had a really cool, laid-back vibe with lots of cool art work on the walls and the most amazing chandelier made out of Corona bottles! What could be better! We then went to order our food, and if you have ever visited Chipotle, it was a very similar concept. Choose what you want- Burrito, Naked Burrito (a bowl/salad) and then you go along the line and tell the lovely lady exactly what you want inside. I went for the 'Naked Burrito' (which is all the good stuff without the calorific wrap) and Ben went for a large burrito (of course).  

The food was absolutely delicious and we both made many appreciative food noises as we devoured it. The portion was pretty big but we both still managed to finish it all off and were very satisfied afterwards. You don't get that horrible sick feeling afterwards when you know you have just eaten too much of something very naughty as the bowls are a pretty healthy lunch option. I must say, I still don't think the food was quite as tasty as Chipotle, however, the decor and ambience of Tortilla was a lot nicer and a huge plus point if you want to go somewhere to enjoy you meal rather than just a grab-and-go kind of place. Overall, we had a very nice lunch and Tortilla is the perfect place for a quick lunch date with delicious food where you know exactly what are you are going to get. Thumbs up from me. 





Saturday, 19 July 2014

U.S.A

Finally! I can share with you my holiday photos from America! I have been back now for nearly 3 weeks and have been a very bad blogger as life has just got in the way. However, I have finally got round to uploading my thousands of photos from the trip and sharing with you a select few.

We started our trip in Princeton, New Jersey, which is where my grandparents live. Three days of spending some quality time with them in their gorgeous new home and exploring the beautiful city of Princeton was a great introduction to our trip. I absolutely love Princeton and the university is just idyllic. We spent a lot of time admiring the architecture and soaking up the atmosphere of the Ivy League town.


We then went onto the place I had been most looking forward to: New York. I have been lucky enough to visit New York quite a few times before and have done all the usual touristy things, therefore this time I wanted to do something a little different. After lots of research and tips from friends I planned out our itinerary. We were only there for 2 nights so had a lot to cram in! We managed to walk the High-Line, which is the old industrial railway line running above the city which they have now turned into a lovely walkway with beautiful gardens. It is like an oasis above the streets, a real must-do if you are in the city. It was also here that I bumped into the Made in Chelsea crew filming for the new series! We then went to Chelsea Market which is the coolest place ever with loads of funky cafes, bars and shops in an old renovated biscuit factory. We also walked around the Meatpacking district and Chelsea which is just a really cool area and you will notice a lot of locations from Sex and the City. Over the three days we were there we also did the Staten Island Ferry which takes you up close to the Statue of Liberty, we saw the 9/11 memorial which was just stunning and so moving to see. They have done an amazing job there and I would highly recommend a visit. We also hired bikes and cycled around the WHOLE of Central Park! This was a nice idea, however, it started to chuck it down with rain half way through... so didn't end up quite as fun as planned!! We also saw a Broadway show- If/Then with my absolute favourite Idina Menzel. The show was soooo good and we bought the soundtrack and I can't stop singing the songs! We also just walked EVERYWHERE which is the best thing to do in New York as we just saw everything. Bryant Park, New York Library, Radio City, the Rockafella Centre, South Street Seaport are all also musts to visit. We also had some yummy meals and ate LOADS of food! As well as seeing some more family members and being served by my cousin in a restaurant (5 Napkins - best burger I have ever had!!) Anyway, rambling over- that was New York and it was amazing! 

The Highline
Stevie!!
Central Park 
9/11 Memorial
Central Park
We then went back to Princeton for one night and retrieved the car and headed on our road trip. We drove up to Massachusetts first to stay with family in a place called Manchester-by-the-Sea. (very different from Manchester here..) This place was beautiful with the most gorgeous beach! From here we visited Rockport which was the cutest little town where they filmed the Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds film The Proposal. It is a bit of a tourist trap but still absolutely beautiful. A couple of days later we headed up to Maine which was my favourite part of the trip. We were lucky enough to stay in my Uncle's holiday home which was just ridiculous. It was the ultimate American beach house and an absolute mansion!! It had the sea right at the end of the garden with a dock to swim off. Here, we spent a lot of time chilling out, sunbathing, kayaking and drinking wine on the dock! We also drove to some remote islands and had lobster in a tiny littler restaurant on the end of a pier in the middle of nowhere! It was idyllic. 

Rockport
Recognise this from The Proposal?
Manchester


After a couple of days of relaxation we then started our drive back down to Boston. We stopped off at a few places on the way. One of my favourites was Portland, which was a really cool city on the sea. It was just really pretty and had a proper American, laid-back feel to it. We finally arrived in Boston and we were staying in the Harvard area in a gorgeous Air BNB. I absolutely love Boston and we did all the typical things like a trolley bus tour around the city, a harbour boat trip and explored the grounds of Harvard university. We also had some amazing meals here with Boston being a hub for yummy restaurants and bars. 

Harvard Square
Harvard Football Stadium 

Finally we drove back down to Princeton for the last couple of nights to spend more time with the grandparents before heading home. 

All in all I had the most amazing trip, and it was so nice to spend some quality time with my mum and dad and our family over in the states as well as seeing some stunning places. This is a very quick and edited version and I am sure I have missed LOADS of stuff out but if anyone is visiting any of those places, let me know cos I have loads of tips and recommendations!!