Happy birthday to you.

30.3.11

Yesterday Jonathan turned 28 and we had the day off work too. It was the best day ever. Couldn't have been better if we'd tried! We got up early (I say got up, the dogs woke us up at 6.30. Thanks Pugs!) and I made scrambled eggs on toast and plenty of tea, then Jonathan opened his card and presents from me.

I had 3 long walks in the glorious sunshine - 2 with the Pugs and one with Jonathan. It certainly makes a change going for a walk and not getting rained on! We headed out past the house that we like, and back again, for a nosy.

I cooked dinner and good old Nigella came to the rescue with one of her recipes; Spanish Chicken and Chorizo. It was surprisingly simple to make (I'll talk about that another day) but it was gorgeous. So many flavours going on but not too overpowering.


Then it was time for the cheesecake I made (an Oreo Cookie & Cream cheesecake to be precise) which I started the night before and finished off yesterday morning. I've never made a cheesecake before and thought it would go disasterously wrong, but it turned out great. It was so yummy! And Jonathan loved it as it's his favourite cheesecake ever. He also seemed to like the candles and my horrendous rendition of "Happy Birthday".

Lemon meringue cupcakes.

26.3.11

Lemon meringue pie is one of my favourite desserts and last weekend I decided to spend an afternoon making lemon meringue cupcakes. I didn't use a specific recipe although I'm sure if you Google it you would find hundreds. Just incase they didn't turn out as planned I made half into lemon cupcakes (always good to have a backup plan!)

I used the Hummingbird book to make a plain bun ready for the amazing toppings I would be adding on top. Once they had cooled down I took half of the buns and scooped out a hole in the centre, and carefully filled each hole with lemon curd.


Then I made a batch of plain frosting and added a couple of tablespoons of lemon zest. I covered each bun with the lemon frosting and happily licked the spoon afterwards - yum!


Here's where I cheated a little bit (I promise I'll make my own meringue next time!) - I popped a meringue whirl on the top of each cupcake with lemon curd inside. Voila - take a bite and it's the next best thing to eating lemon meringue pie! And they look quite pretty too.


A sprinkle of lemon zest finished off the plain lemon cupcakes - and I can honestly say, both kinds are absolutely yummy. You need a trip to the dentist after eating one though! They are super sweet but really tasty.

Fearne Cotton makeup.

25.3.11

Fearne Cotton has bagged herself a makeup range exclusively sold at Boots stores which features a range of nail polishes, eye shadows/pencils, and lip products. The range has recently launched - have you spotted any of her products in store? If not keep on reading for more info!


I have been sent a couple of items from the range and so far I have tried the nail polishes - I was pretty impressed. The colours I received (coral and pink) are very bright and girly, and a couple of coats were enough to give good coverage. There's a good choice of colours in the range, and if you're into bright polishes such as the colours Barry M do then these are definitely worth a look.

I'll do a more in depth review soon but I thought I'd give you a heads up on the range and let you know it's out.

I'd say that the range is ideal for teens as the prices are reasonable and Boots stores are so accessible. They would make good presents too, as everyone knows Fearne and she's a pretty good role model I'd say!

Armani Code.

24.3.11

I was recently sent a bottle of Armani Code to review and I have been spritzing it every day since. The perfume is described as follows:

Orange Blossom is the Muse of this creation: a miracle of the nature, the quintessence of femininity. A unique creation reveals this flower's full magic and operates its metamorphosis by the incredibly soft embrace of Madagascar vanilla and a touch of honey. Sambac jasmine, from India, amplifies the radiance and elegance of this celebration of noble materials. An unforgettable fragrance that exudes a mysterious charm.


I absolutely love it - it's one of the nicest perfumes I've ever worn and it has definitely become my new daily scent. It reminds me of Flowerbomb which I wear for special occasions (too expensive to use it too much!) I've had compliments from people at work on the perfume and Jonathan loves it too.

Next time you're in the perfume aisles have a spritz and see what you think!

Monday summary.

21.3.11

Hola! Hope you had a good weekend! As it's Monday here are my 5 good things of the moment:

1) Lovely comments. Thank you for your nice comments on my last post - I really enjoyed making the scarf and it's good to get feedback on my hard work :) I've got my first order to make another which is very exciting! If you fancy one drop me a line and I'll see what I can do!

2) Viewing houses. We had a look round 3 houses yesterday and they were all lovely, but one in particular was gorgeous. It was a house with 3 floors and a lovely big back garden. I could see myself living there I really could. We'll have to see what happens...
 
I subsequently spent a while Googling kitchens because I'm obsessed with pretty kitchens.


3) The weather. It's so nice to feel some warm weather on my skin after months of snow and rain! I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

4) I got some good news from work last week and I'm chuffed to bits. I feel really positive about my future in the position and it's all very exciting.

5) The ice hockey team my boyfriend supports won the league and if he's happy, I'm happy!

What are your 5 good things this week?

I made something.

20.3.11

As you may know I recently took a knitting lesson to get to grips with the basics - casting on/off, knit stitch, purl stitch, and increasing/decreasing. Oh, and changing colours! And it has opened up a whole new world of wool shopping and little knitting projects.

Since then I have been knitting most evenings and I find it so addictive. Luckily the knitting lessons I had were held at a super cute store and they have bundles of lovely things to buy - plus you can buy online too so I really do find it easy to get carried away.

I found some super chunky wool in one of my favourite colours and got to work on a chunky scarf. I finished it off last night (I stayed up till 1am to get it finished - that's dedication for you!) and have been parading around in it today. 

I feel so proud to have finished something and it's not half bad!

This weekend and last weekend.

19.3.11

I've got the whole day to myself today and my to-do list goes something like this:

* walk the dogs
* give the dogs a bath
* go to the supermarket for baking supplies
* blogging
* bake cupcakes
* watch Julie & Julia
* Do some washing
* Finish off the scarf I've been knitting
* Paint my toenails
* Do level 2 of the "shred"
* Read Company magazine


As you can see I've been a busy bee so far and I'm having a little lunch and cup of tea break before I start baking. I intend to stay up all night knitting, blogging and probably eating cupcakes. Jonathan will be back from his trip to Scotland at about 3am so I look forward to being woken up with a little cuddle.

Tomorrow we're viewing some houses - we have been talking about moving in together this year so we thought we would have a nosy round some places to get an idea of what we like. I personally would love to have a lovely, big, enclosed back garden for the Pugs to run around, a country style kitchen with an island in the middle, and a bath with legs. I don't ask for much do I ;)

Last weekend we had a look round a show home and oh my, it was amazing! Bit too big for what we need but I took lots of photos for inspiration.


During our 4 day weekend we ate SO much food - I should probably have detoxed for a week to make up for it but what the heck. We made an amazing fish pie with chunky salmon and smoked fish and prawns. Yum! We made enough to be able to have it for dinner 2 nights in a row. We also made some sangria which is officially my favourite drink. We made a big bowl of it with lemonade, vodka and chopped fruit and let it soak for a few hours. Makes the fruit taste out of this world!!

 

We had the fish pie with spicy cauliflower again and it was all absolutely delicious.

Have a great Saturday!

.

18.3.11

I love my Friday night routine. I leave work at 5 and head home to pick up Lily, Lola and my weekend case. Then I drive to Rotherham and let myself into Jonathan's house as he plays roller hockey on a Friday night. I patiently wait for him to get home - perhaps having a cup of tea and browsing the internet, and making a start on dinner.

Today was a little bit different as I found a special little surprise waiting on the bed... today is a good Friday.

Monday summary.

14.3.11


Happy Monday. Hope you all had a good weekend? I've had the past 4 days off work (still using up annual leave before the new allowance starts!) so I've been doing lots of fun stuff and eating my own body weight in buns and sweet things. Now that my guest posts have finished I can share my own 5 good things of the moment:

1) The sun is shining. Everything just feels so much better when the sun is out. I've been feeling a little weird lately - sort of like a feeling of impending doom is hanging over me. I don't know - must be hormones! But a walk outside with the sun shining down on my face makes me feel much better.

2) Doing things that scare you. On Friday I went ice skating. I've only been once before; I was about 10, and I slipped over and someone's skate caught my ear. Anyway, it turns out that I wasn't so bad once I got the hang of it. Big thanks to Jonathan for not letting go of my hand! I'd love to go again once my heel has recovered from the blisters and my hips have stopped aching!

3) Driving through pretty little villages to find houses for sale. This is today's plan.

4) Jonathan's birthday. I love planning anything and everything (mainly holidays but other stuff is fun too!). It's his birthday in a couple of weeks time and I'm having fun planning little presents and what to cook for him.

5) We made marshmallow cupcakes again on Saturday and they are our best ones yet. We bought smaller cases so they're just the right size, and the frosting was spot on. They're so easy to make once you get the hang of it - I just know we will be making these forever!

Knitting ideas.

13.3.11

I know I've only been knitting two minutes but I desperately want to make every single one of these things (all found via weheartit). The dog hats are the cutest things I've ever seen. Lily and Lola need these immediately!

Recent happenings in picture form.

11.3.11

Knitting. I'm really getting the hang of it now and have even picked up a bit of speed! I'm knitting a few scarves at the moment but hope to move on to a few other bits and bobs very soon. When Summer rolls around I'm going to be inundated with scarves!


Ice hockey warm up. We went to watch Sheffield vs Nottingham last weekend and they do this before the game starts. We lost which was a tad annoying but it's always good to go and watch all the same.


Cooking. Jonathan and I, with some help from his Sister, cooked dinner for his family a couple of weekends ago. We made two curries - a lamb rogan josh and a chicken one which involved marinating the chicken for a few hours before hand and the smell was absolutely amazing! We went to a nearby spice shop and they were selling homemade naan bread so we got some of those too and put some garlic and coriander on the top, plus some rice. It was all so tasty.


Wool shopping. I do this a lot. In fact I'm looking online as we speak!


Jonathan having a cuddle with Lola. I know it looks like he's got her in a head lock but I swear she laid there for ages in cuddle heaven! Also Jonathan is wearing my jumper so I hope he doesn't read this..


Finding little surprises on my desk at work from Jonathan. Faces on fruit can't help but make you smile!

I found 2 Pugs on the windowsill.

10.3.11

Lily and Lola are often found sitting on the windowsill at Jonathan's house. They love to watch the world go by (and bark at unsuspecting people walking on by). Silly little Pugs.


Etsy hammered copper heart bracelet.

9.3.11

For Valentine's Day Jonathan bought me this lovely bracelet from Etsy. Etsy is full of gorgeous, handmade bits and bobs but when I saw this bracelet I instantly loved and NEEDED it!

It's a hammered copper bangle which arrived with lovely packaging and presentation. It works out as £12 in sterling which I think is a really good price for a handmade piece like this. The handmade nature of the bracelet means each one will look slightly different, which I like the idea of. And because it was a present from Jonathan it feels even more special :)

I love scouring the pages of Etsy.. do let me know if you've seen any lovely things there lately!

Thank you to the guest posters!

This is just a little thank you to all of you who took part in my guest post series, sharing your 5 good things, and thanks to those who have read, commented, and visited the bloggers who took part.

My regular Monday Summary/5 good things series will resume next Monday!

x

Guest post: 5 good things (by Stephanie)

5 good things by Stephanie:

1) The way my boyfriend makes me laugh everyday. I love him with all of my heart, he's my best friend and soulmate.

2) I am going to Cuba for 2 weeks in about 2 weeks! I am soooo excited, plus its our anniversary (6yrs) when we are there. Perfect.

3) Seeing other people singing their heads off whilst driving, as i know, this is what i must look like too.....

4) Seeing my niece and nephew growing up. They are more like a little brother and sister we are that close, seems like they were born yesterday but they are now 12 and 13!

5) My free trip to London in April for a London Comic Con style thing..I get to see my boyfriend be a massive child for the weekend.

Stephanie & Marc - July 2010 @ Madame Tussauds

Stuck in the middle.

7.3.11

As you may know I've lost a bit of weight recently and I'm really getting into exercising and eating yummy, healthy food. I'm generally quite happy with my body. I could be fitter and stronger but I'm getting there. I feel good in clothes and I love certain parts of my body. But I have a difficult relationship with my middle. Certain food makes me so bloated that I'm certain I must be expecting. Stomach exercises leave me feeling bulky.

So, I am setting out on my quest for a perfectly flat tummy with a little bit of help from Jillian Michaels, trying to cut down on foods that make me bloated (even though they're the tastiest) and a bit of inspiration in picture form:

Guest post: 5 good things (by Sarah)

5 good things by Sarah:

1) I have booked my holiday to Crete with my boyfriend ♥

2) This month is my last payment on my car so I can start saving for my own place at last!

3) I am having a lovely meal for Valentine's Day at the weekend at Tampopo - I love eating out!

4) I have decided to get back into Karate after taking a break from it for 3 years and I'm so glad I've gone back!

5) My pets...even if you've had a rubbish day they never fail to cheer you up!

Knock knock.

5.3.11

Can we come in?

Guest post: 5 good things (by Jennifer)

5 good things by Jennifer:

1) Moving house! Finally settling down in my own gorgeous bedroom is making me very very happy indeed :)
     I've lived in 3 different houses in 6 months and feeling settled is a lovely feeling i have to say :)

2) Cooking up yummy things spontaneously! and succeeding, i think that's important to add ;)
     Getting home from school and being able to whip up a cracking BLT sandwhich just adds a touch of perfection to my day.

3) Sorting out things i thought i'd never sort out; my schoolwork section of the wardrobe.
      I never thought i'd see the day, feeling very organised and proud of myself now :)

4) Drinking more water! It really makes a big change to my mood and i find myself looking at things more positively now, maybe i'm just doing it sub-conciously?
Who knows, either way, my skin is definitely benefiting!

5) Getting more into my blog. I love my blog, even though i don't have a high amount of followers they all take their time to leave lovely comments and it makes me smile everytime i see my page views go up :)