Tuesday, 27 May 2014

The Long Weekend

Yet another Bank Holiday weekend has past us by here in the UK. For me, it was a combination of sun, rain, exercise (shock horror!) and relaxation…bliss!

I was lucky enough to have a half day from work on Friday which meant I could go a meet my Sister-in-Law and her other half at the airport. They have just got back from four months of traveling and it was so good to see them again. Although we have kept in touch along the way, there's nothing like sitting down with someone and having a good chat. I'm really looking forward to spending more time with them this summer.

On Saturday it was pouring with rain for most of the day but we still made our way to Guildford (pictured above) with my other Sister-in-Law, where we ate Wagamama's for lunch, had a look around the lovely shops and even had time to pop to a vintage market in the cathedral which was really nice, especially as we had a slice of cake and a cup of tea in the most adorable little tea cups!

Tea was definitely a winner on that rainy day.

In the evening I was treated to a meal at Jamie's Italian restaurant in Greenwich. I've not been to a Jamie Oliver restaurant before and I was really impressed with the food and service. I had a yummy cocktail to start, followed by a bread selection board, tomato risotto and the most amazing chocolate brownie cake with caramel ice cream, and popcorn!! We had a stroll along the river to walk off our dinner and then caught the bus home. I wish I could have taken more pictures in the restaurant but it was quite dark and very busy. I'll be making another visit though, just to get some more brownie!!

Sunday was the day of exercise. I'm not one for 'keeping fit' or doing anything too exhausting but when the weather starts to get warmer I have the urge to run in the park or do some form of exercise. This usually doesn't last for very long, especially when I'm in agony the next day (another sign that I should lay off the brownie's). After reading a post by the lovely Lily Pebbles about her new fitness routine I thought it sounded manageable so I gave it a go. It basically involves skipping (with a skipping rope) and then a series of squats, press ups, sit ups and lunges…by no means was this easy especially after skipping (something which I haven't done in about 20 years) but I feel it's very do-able…I just have to get over my sore limbs before I try it again!

We then took a trip up to Covent Garden as it was a sunny day. I do love to have a stroll by the river and look at all the pretty shops. We even got to see a sand artist drawing this dude in the sand!

It is very crowded on the weekend though so I was pleased to get home and watch Breaking Bad.

On Monday I had a lazy day of house work, cleaning, washing clothes and picking up a few essentials from Sainsbury's. I then spent the rest of the day just chilling out on the sofa and not doing very much which was lovely!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Betty xXx

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Brunch Snacks // Flour-less Banana and Apple Bread Loaf

Whilst spending far too much time on Bloglovin' I came across a recipe for flour-less banana bread. Thankfully I don't have any intolerance's to flour/wheat etc but the recipe looked so yummy I had to give it a go!

The recipe is by Amanda from Running with Spoons so be sure to check out her blog for the recipe. She has made them into muffins but I thought I would just make a loaf so I could cut it into slices to eat at work.

The first time I made this recipe I substituted the almond butter as it seemed to be sold out everywhere, and used wholenut peanut butter (healthier than regular peanut butter) and it tasted so good! I couldn't believe how easy it was to make so whipped up another batch but this time with almond butter and I threw in a chopped up apple.

I would say that adding an apple made the bread quite soft which I liked but it was a bit messy (crumbs everywhere!). Although it's called a bread it has a cake texture and is so tasty. I've been making a batch on a Sunday evening and taking it to work with me for a mid-morning snack and it really fills the gap before lunch.

Have you given this recipe a go? What are your favourite morning snacks?

Betty xXx

Friday, 16 May 2014

Feel Unique Mini Haul


Last week I decided to place a cheeky Feel Unique order as I was starting to run out of a few skincare essentials and water to try something new. I have a habit of compiling wish lists, letting them grow and forgetting all about it but this time I took the plunge and ordered some bits. 

Starting with the things I actually needed in the skincare department...

Moa The Green Balm: a multi purpose balm that does it all - cleanser, lip balm, helps with grazes, burns, dry skin...the list goes on. Plus it's 100% natural and made in England. I
Be been really impressed with this little wonder pot. Review coming soon.

Steam Cream: another multi purpose cream that can be used for face, hands and body. It is a super light moisturiser which uses 'revolutionary steam-infused manufacturing process...' Ingredients include 'moisturising and soothing oatmeal infusion, orange flower water and healing lavender oil'.

I was a little surprised at how scented it was, and although I like lavender scents I did think I might break out but so far so good! It is very light but feels like it's actually sinking into my skin and hydrating. Another great travel product.

Now onto things that I didn't really need but, you know...

I've wanted to pick up some more make up brushes and really love my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush so added the Duo Fibre brush set to my basket. I went with this collection mainly because I wanted a lighter brush to apply my bronzer with now that the sun seems to be making a more frequent appearance. The large face brush does a fantastic job at delivering just the right amount. I also love the eyeshadow brush for blending out eyeshadow and smudging eyeliner all over the lids. The blush brush is also great for applying a hint of colour of the apples of my cheeks.

I've been trying to get hold of Nars Creamy Concealer in Vanilla for ages but apparently there is a national shortage! I'd heard good things about the Maybelline Fit Me concealer being a possible dupe so opted to give that a go. Unfortunately the shade I chose is a bit too dark for me, but I'm using it sparingly and blending out as the concealer is really nice. 

I always get drawn in my lipsticks and glosses. Right now I'm after the perfect peach/coral shade, so whilst perusing Feel Unique for this Tanya Burr's new range popped up and I decided to give the shade Just Peachy a go. I'm a little disappointed with this gloss; I really love the formula, it lasts well on the lips, isn't sticky and smells gorgeous, however this shade was just not right for me. Switched on my hand I thought it would be perfect but on my lips it's too pale and looks just wrong. I'm definitely going to give the other shades a go though! 

So that was my little splurge for this month! Have you ordered anything from Feel Unique before? Have you tried any of these products? 

Betty xXX

Saturday, 10 May 2014

First Date Ideas

My husband and I first met 11 years ago today! It's crazy how quickly those 11 years have gone and how we have grown into (almost) adults together, as we met when we were still teenagers. Of course it got me reminiscing about our first date and subsequent dates that followed. Being young we didn't have a lot of money so everything was a bit budget back then, so what would we do on our first date if we met now, as adults?

Obviously our tastes have changed and we appreciate each others company more than what we're actually doing but we often have a date somewhere and I think, "this would make a great first date". So here are my top 5 first date ideas:

1. A restaurant: This can be a tricky one as some people feel a bit uncomfortable eating in public, especially in front of a potential love interest. It's an oldy but a goody in my opinion and I think as long as it's not too formal or messy (the type of food!) then it's a winner in my book!

2. A walk in the park: A simple, easy, free date so if money is an issue it's perfect. Choosing a park shouldn't be a problem as there are hundreds in every part of the country. Whether dependant, it's a great way to have a long chat whilst walking amongst the pretty flowers and trees, and maybe hold hands...awww!

3. A trip to a gallery or museum: There are times when a first date can get a bit awkward and you don't really know what to say, so visiting a place that has lots of talking points is a good place to start. Finding out what each other is interested in would be my advice - you don't want to bore the socks off your love interest by looking at something you love as there might be a clash. Why not choose somewhere perhaps that has a certain exhibition on that week/month or a relatively small venue so your not stuck there all day.

4. Be a tourist: Whether you live in a big city or just a small town, there is bound to be things that you have never seen or haven't visited in a long time. Living in London means that we have a whole tourist map right on our doorstep but I don't really travel into central London that often now-a-days so it's nice to revisit some amazing places. Even exploring a local town that we haven't been to for ages can be really nice, taking in all the history and offers great talking points and opportunities for a spot of lunch or a drink.

5. A Class: There are so many classes you can take now that are only a few hours  to a day long, such as a dance class, chocolate making, cocktail making...the list goes on. Groupon is a brilliant place to look for offers and it's a fun way to get to know someone whilst exploring a possible hidden talent?!

I hope that has given you a few ideas for your first or 50th date! I know I want to go out and do all of them this weekend!

Betty xXx

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Crochet Teddy Bears

For some reason I am always on the look out for the perfect crochet teddy bear pattern. After tackling a rather difficult project last year I was determined to find something easy, and now I have finally found it!

To be honest, I can't remember the website I saw it on but the pattern itself is all components made together - front, back, head, legs and arms all work in one continuous. It is then sewn around the edges and stuffed, et voila! A perfect little teddy bear!

I tried it out last week and it was super easy. Of course I had to add a little bow tie for this chappy :) and then we had news our friend had given birth to a little girl so, I made a lady version moving the bow tie to a hair bow.

Super cute, super easy and would make a great gift for a newborn or small person in your life. I'm actually thinking about selling these in my Etsy shop soon so thoughts on a postcard please and check back soon for more details.

Betty xXx

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful #4

This week has been a busy one at work and the weather has been pretty bad here in London so finding things that have made me feel 'cheerful' has been a bit hard! Despite that there are always reasons to be thankful and happy!

1. Sleep: Oh I do love to sleep and the past week has been a tiring one! So when I've managed to have a lay in on the weekend it has been blissful. I always wake up early on the weekend even when I still feel tired so I love to sleep as long as possible! This leads nicely onto...

2. Bank Holiday Weekends: It's so lovely to have the extra day off from work. I did absolutely nothing and it was blissful :) It was such a lazy day of watching tv, eating, tv, long soak in the bath, Made in Chelsea and bed! Oh and maybe a little online purchase via Feel Unique (oops!)

3. Banana bread recipe: Whilst perusing Bloglovin' last week I discovered a recipe for flour-less banana bread muffins. I'm not too bothered about having flour-less foods as luckily I don't have any intolerance's but I'm always happy to try something new and healthy. It was so easy to make and although I had to substitute an ingredient (I couldn't track down almond butter, despite seeing it everywhere previously!) it was delicious! I'm super happy with it and will be taking it to work as my morning snack. I'll post details of the recipe soon.

4. Dinner with Friends: It's always lovely to see people you haven't seen in a while. We had some yummy take away and I tried Paneer which is a type of cheese often used in Indian/Asian curry dishes - it was very tasty! We also saw their super cute baby who is now six months old and getting so big already! It was nice to have a glass of wine and good ol' chat!

5. Sunshine: The weather last week was so grey and miserable in London it was nice to have some sunshine this weekend. I always feel so much better and more motivated when it is sunny and warm - lets hope we're getting into proper Spring weather and away from the April showers now that it is May.

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and have a great week!

Betty xXx

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Yarn Review: Lily's Sugar 'n' Cream Scented Yarn

A while back I saw a tweet mentioning a new yarn which was scented; of course I was intrigued! I purchased the Fleur de Lavande variety (mainly because the colours are so pretty!) from Wool Warehouse. Sugar 'n' Cream Scents yarn is 100% cotton, aran weight and you get around 86 metres per 56.7 gram. It can be washed at 30 degrees on a very mild cycle and tumble dried on a low setting.

When it arrive I didn't really have anything to make with it. I decided to just make something small and simple to see how to crocheted and how the colours took effect. As you can see I made a simple heart shape and also tried out some new stitches from the book, 500 crochet blocks. The yarn is easy to work with and unlike other cotton aran yarns it does not split (Rico Creative Cotton - I'm looking at you!). The colour pattern changes quite quickly and alternates with white after each colour.

The smell wasn't overwhelming when I first opened the packet but as I began to crochet the scent seemed to 'release', but again not strong at all; a very pleasant lavender scent and  nothing like theoverpowering and sickly scent I had anticipated.

Overall I'm really happy with this yarn and will be purchasing more! I think this yarn would be ideal for making small gifts (hanging hearts) that have a slight scent to them.

Betty xXx