Monday summary.

31.1.11


Did you have a good weekend? Monday comes round so quickly doesn't it. I wasn't feeling too great yesterday. I had a nice sleep in as Jonathan offered to look after the dogs, and he brought me tea and cereal in bed, but then I got up and felt just awful. I had a temperature for most of the day and was completely off my food. I also felt a little bit sick and had the worst headache driving home to Wakefield from Rotherham. But, today I feel fine. It must have been a 24 hour bug thingymajig. I've not been ill *touch wood* in so long and I'd hate to be ill for my birthday!

The photo above is from our curling expedition on Saturday evening. Brrr!

My 5 good things:

1) It's my birthday on Thursday and I've got Thursday and Friday booked off from work. We've got some nice things planned - tea at Bibi's in Leeds, ice skating, Eden Camp museum, Jonathan cooking for me. It's going to be my best birthday yet I'm sure.


2) Jonathan. Just because.

3) I've ordered a scrabble ring from Victoria - I can't wait to receive it!

4) I've had some lovely comments from you guys over the weekend. It's so nice to hear that you're making recipes that I've blogged about. I apologise for the calorie overload if you made Rocky Road!

5) I'm very, very happy.

Now you see her..

30.1.11


.. now you don't.


I kid! She honestly didn't fall down the back of the bed. She was behind me. But it makes for a funny picture :)

Salmon & amazing veggies.

Last weekend we had some amazing salmon and veggies and I had to share them with you. I'm eating loads of vegetables lately and trying to incorporate them into most meals so I apologise in advance if you don't like them, but I love 'em! Also salmon is one of my faves and I don't have it very often so this was a real treat.

We picked up two lovely big bits of salmon from Morrisons - they were super easy to cook. We put some oil and rock salt on the skin and put them under the grill, and once they were almost done they went into the oven.



Meanwhile we started on the 'spicy cauliflower' courtesy of a recipe from the Gary Rhodes cookbook, and a spinach and mushroom combo which was part of a Cod recipe we had a few weeks ago. We thought it would go nicely with this tea too.

In a pan with a little bit of butter you cook the mushrooms, diced into small pieces, then add the spinach and cook until it starts to wilt. And that's it! Simples.

I'm saving the best bit till last - the spicy cauliflower. This is without a doubt one of the nicest things I've ever eaten in my life. The spice in the cauliflower contrasted with the yoghurt with a hint of lime and coriander was so tasty. I could easily munch through a whole plate of this on its own. The recipe is at the end if you'd like to give it a whirl!


The recipe to serve 4 is:

1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
Oil, for cooking
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of medium curry powder
A knob of butter
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander
150ml of natural yoghurt
A generous squeeze of lime

Plunge the cauliflower into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for a few minutes until tender before draining.
Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and curry powder and fry for 5-6 minutes over a medium heat. Add the knob of butter and cauliflower and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring to coat the florets with the curry flavour. Season with a pinch of salt and sprinkle with the coriander.
While the cauliflower is cooking, mix together the yoghurt with the lime juice and season with the salt and pepper. Drizzle the yoghurt over the cauliflower just before serving or offer seperately.

Wavy hair & rollerblades.

29.1.11

Today is Saturday therefore I'm happy as larry. My day today has so far involved eating a big breakfast omelette and drinking 700 cups of tea, doing level two of the 30 Day Shred, and blogging. My afternoon will involve going to Meadowhall, going curling (!), a drink or two, then snuggles with the boyfriend and maybe a film.

In other news, my hair is getting so long! I'm wearing it wavy quite a lot as it is in desperate need of a trim, and I find making it look 'messy on purpose' hides those pesky split ends. I'm on the look out for a reasonably priced, super moisturising, conditioning treatment so if you can think of anything please do let me know in the comments box!

I've had my eyebrows threaded since this picture so I look slightly more human now!

Currently listening to: Eliza Doolittle - Rollerblades

Currently reading: What Katie Does

Currently researching: smoothie recipes

I'm hopefully getting a smoothie maker/blender type contraption soon and I'm definitely going to make Green Monsters and other yummy smoothies to take to work for my breakfast. They attract strange looks but they taste so damn yummy!

What are you up to today?

Rocky Road bars.

My latest baking venture had to be slightly more realistic for my skill-set considering my last attempt was such a disaster. I asked regular baker, Laura, if she had a favourite Rocky Road recipe and she came up trumps with a recipe from the Good to Know website.

I could not stop picking at the goodies whilst mixing up my chocolate mixture!

Jonathan wanted to use milk chocolate instead of plain, as the recipe calls for, so this may have altered the taste slightly. I am of the opinion that recipes should be stuck to, but that's because I'm completely unadventurous! We got everything else on the ingredients list - mini marshmallows, white chocolate drops, milk chocolate drops, maltesers, ginger biscuits, and all the sugar-y syrup-y stuff.

The result wasn't bad for my first try. However, due to impatience the chocolate mixture probably wasn't cool enough before we mixed in the goodies so it completely melted the white and milk chocolate drops. Next time I would let the mixture cool fully and use a different biscuit to ginger biscuits as they're not my favourite. I can't wait to try this out again! It was super easy to make.

It is very tasty - we still have loads left so I fear I will look like Rocky Road by the end of the week.


I would definitely make this again - it's so easy! Click here for the recipe to have a go yourself!

15 random questions.

28.1.11

I spotted this on Erin's blog and thought I'd carry the tag on - please feel free to do it too. I like posts like this - it's a bit of fun and you get to learn more about your fellow bloggers. So here goes..

1) What is your dream job?
I never used to be able to answer this question. I would give a million answers - airline pilot, zoo keeper, writer. I've just never known what I REALLY want to do. I'd love to work from home writing books, or working with animals, but I'm quite content with a job in HR for now.

2) What is your favourite fragrance for Winter?
At the moment I'm wearing Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb most days. It's strong and lasts really well which I like, and it feels appropriate for Winter to me.

3) How do you take your tea/coffee?
I drink tea by the bucket full and I like it very milky with no sugar. I have 1 or 2 coffees a week and I have it very milky with a sprinkle of sugar.

4) What is your most important beauty secret?
My beauty tips are very simple - nothing fancy for this girl. For me personally I make sure I take every scrap of makeup off every night before bed. If I wash my face half heartedly and hop into bed I always get a little visitors on my chin the next day.

5) If you had an all expenses paid vacation, where would you go?
Orlando, Florida. It's my favourite holiday destination. I'd visit every single theme park and pay a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure as it looks pretty awesome. I'm a big kid at heart really.

6) If a genie popped up in your lap right now and offered you three wishes, what would you ask for?
I would ask for good health for my loved ones, millions of pounds to appear in my bank account and for my hair to grow down to my bum!

7) If you could only have breakfast, lunch, dinner or desert foods for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Toughie. I'll go for lunch because that would include a sunday roast lunch and I'd happily eat that every day.

8) If you were Hello Kitty what colour hair bow would you wear?
Purple. I want to say pink but that's too predictable!

9) What is your biggest makeup pet peeve?
There's not much that bothers me as I'm no makeup expert, but I don't like it when eyes are completely lined all the way round with black eyeliner. It makes them look so small and silly.

10) If you could wear only one piece of jewellery for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I have so many lovely pieces of jewellery but I particularly love my Juicy Couture watch that I lusted after for 6 months before receiving it for Christmas as a complete surprise one year. It's hard to get a good picture of the real thing so I have found a stock photo to show you. It's so pretty!


11) What one talent do you wish you had?
I'd like to be able to play the piano reeeally well. That would be amazing.

12) Which product will you continue to purchase?
I will always buy foundation. I can take or leave other makeup products but I will always wear foundation every single day. I'm not very confident about my skin and this instantly makes me feel human. I particularly like Estee Lauder Double Wear although it's a real pain taking off at the end of the day. But for coverage and lasting power you just can't beat it.

13) If you could look into the future, would you? And what would you like to know?
Had you asked me this last year I would have said "yes please!" But I'm so happy with the boy and with work and yes I've got a few little problems here and there, but right now I'm happy to go with the flow and let the future unfold however it sees fit!

14) Who is your biggest celebrity crush? Include a picture!
This is very difficult as I don't have one massive boy crush - I just have a few boy shapes who I think are cute. If I HAD to pick then I'd go for Joseph Gordon Levitt as he's so pint sized and was lovely in 500 Days of Summer.


15) What made you start a blog?
I stumbled across a few beauty and fashion blogs and became firm fans of those, and slowly I uncovered the whole community. One day I decided that I'd give it a go myself and the rest is history!

Glorious! skinny soup.

24.1.11

I was browsing the aisles of my local Morrisons last week and came across Glorious! skinny soups which were on offer for 90p a pot! This seemed like a complete bargain so I picked up a few pots... I got New England Butternut Squash and Fragrant Thai Carrot & Lemongrass. I love having soup for lunch at work on a cold day and half of one of these pots is more than enough, with some obligatory bread & butter to dip.

I have tried both flavours, and repurchased more since, and I can honestly say they are yummy! This beats soup from a tin any day and they're low calorie which is good if you're trying to lose weight.

The usual price, after the offer finishes, isn't too bad either so I will definitely be buying some more and checking out the other flavours.

Monday summary.


My 5 good things:

1) Payday! It has finally arrived (well, it will have when I wake up tomorrow). I can't afford to treat myself to much but I can get my eyebrows done after weeks of growing them. I resemble a hairy caterpillar! It's quite comical.

2) I have an amazing boyfriend. Sorry to be super slushy, but he makes me so blimmin happy it is ridiculous! I feel very lucky to have found him.

3) I didn't get the answer I wanted today in relation to a pay increase (I know everyone is struggling at the moment but living on my own is so difficult and I work VERY hard for little reward). BUT, I'm looking on the bright side. If  a better opportunity comes up, great. If not, I can stay in my current role and study the HR qualification, so hopefully everything will work out either way. *must think positive, must think positive*.

4) I'm having a little girly night on Thursday with my friend from work. I'm looking forward to some nice food and girly chat!

5) It's almost my birthday.........! :)

What is making YOU feel positive today?

Guess who.

22.1.11

 

If only a full fringe suited me as much as it did back then!

Zooey Deschanel.

My obsession with Zooey Deschanel never waivers. She is perfection. 

All of the photos below are lovingly borrowed from here, and the video montage at the end was filmed and put together with my own fair hands..

Hummingbird Lemon Meringue Pie.

19.1.11

You may remember last year I made a cake from the Hummingbird Bakery book and it was a great success. Jonathan has the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I've ever met, so I knew it wouldn't be long till we had a go at making something from this book (this is it, incase you wondered). Lemon Meringue Pie is a firm favourite of ours so naturally we decided to have a whirl at this recipe.


We got our ingredients set out and got to work prepping everything. At this point I must add that the recipe called for an electric whisk, which we didn't have. We thought a regular whisk and good old fashioned elbow grease would be sufficient to get the mixture right (we were wrong).


We had to grate and squeeze EIGHT lemons. And seperate egg whites and yolks. And carefully measure sugar, and flour, and butter.

Then disaster struck and didn't stop striking. The pastry mixture didn't firm up like it should have, even though we followed the instructions to the letter. The base didn't cook in the time given in the recipe, so we popped it back in and then it overcooked. Last but not least, the meringue topping seperated in the oven and we were left with a layer of raw egg whites in the middle of the pie.

DISASTER! Next time I think we'll try something a little less ambitious. This is the part where you tell me you can make Lemon Meringue Pie standing on your head ;)

Monday summary.

17.1.11


I'm still massively lusting after a Diana camera, but for now I have to make do with pretty pictures of them on www.weheartit.com

My 5 good things:

1) I'm still jogging! I even went out in the pouring rain and quite enjoyed it. What has happened to me!? Seriously though, I really hope I can keep this up.

2) Food. I didn't feel so bad eating the largest sandwich in the world on Saturday lunchtime, which filled me up for about 5 hours, as I'd been out jogging in the rain for 20 minutes previously (see above).


3) It's almost payday again. After a huge stretch from December's early payday to the next one, we're almost there! It's a good job really as I've got about 2p left.

4) I've got plans to go to Eden Camp - does anyone remember going on a school trip when they were little? I'm extremely excited!!

5) I've tried to cut down on cups of tea as my consumption was getting beyond a joke - and I'm pleased to say there have been no adverse effects... yet!

Yaki Soba.

16.1.11

We consumed some awesome food last weekend - truly scrummy. Most weekends we will grab a cookbook at random, or go to BBC Food, find a recipe and go out to buy the ingredients to whip it all together. Last weekend we had a look through the Wagamama cookbook and settled on making Yaki Soba which is stir fried chicken and prawns with noodles.

I adore stir frys as they are super quick to make, and it mainly involves throwing lots of ingredients into a wok. I'm a huge fan of prawns and chicken so this was always going to be a winner. It was absolutely yummy! The addition of 2 beaten eggs gave a different texture to a standard stir fry, and we polished off the whole lot!  (Full recipe at the bottom).


110g (4oz) soba noodles
2 tablespoons Yaki Soba sauce (100ml of light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce - bring to the boil in a small pan, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes)
1 small onion, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
4 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm lengths
Large handful of beansprouts
15 small cooked peeled prawns
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1/2 red pepper, trimmed, deseeded and cubed
1/2 green pepper, trimmed, deseeded and cubed
2 eggs, beaten

(The recipe suggested adding ginger, dried shallots and sesame seeds to the top to serve, but we didn't bother with that).

Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
Put the Yaki Soba sauce, the onion, spring onion, beansprouts and prawns in a large bowl and mix in the noodles.
Heat a wok over a medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes or until completely hot and almost smoking and add the vegetable oil. Add the chicken and red and green peppers and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the noodles and vegetables to the wok and stir fry quickly for 3 minutes until warmed through. Add the eggs and continue to stir fry for a further minute or until the eggs are just cooked. Serve with the pickled ginger, shallots and sesame seeds.

Jelly Pong Pong.

At the end of last year I received some lovely goodies from Jelly Pong Pong of which I am busy testing out ready to review. Having known very little about Jelly Pong Pong as a brand before, I have been pleasantly surprised by the adorable packaging and the girliness of everything.


I'm utterly in love with the Soap Popsicles- they would make amazing presents and they come in a variety of colours and flavours.

There are some fabulous deals on the website at the moment plus a free gift with every order, so pop on over to have a look. And I'll be back with some reviews very soon!

TGI Saturday.

15.1.11

After my first full week back at work since Christmas, 2 jogs, and a mammoth aerobics session, I am officially knackered. But is today going to be chilled? No. After a blogger catch up I shall be heading outdoors for a jog, helping Jonathan to tidy up, making lunch, walking Lily and Lola, going bowling with Jonathan's Sister and husband, then coming back here to consume huge quantities of rose wine and yummy food! I'm either brilliant at bowling or truly awful, so I fully expect to lose.

Tomorrow will be a little less manic me thinks and will mainly involve a roast dinner and lots of telly.


Currently lusting after:


Currently consuming: tea and toast.

Currently scouring the pages of: Etsy.

Currently researching: knitting lessons.

Currently reading: Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar.

Lily bops.

Lily really does make me laugh with the variety of poses she strikes for photos. Just the other day I stumbled upon her relaxing on the sofa and using Lola as a resting post. Her other favourite poses are the Super Pug and find a sunny spot pose.

The Magician's Nephew. C.S. Lewis.

In my resolutions post I said I would make more time to read in 2011, and 2 weeks in that's exactly what I've done. I may have started off with a children's book with pictures, but what the heck!

I've got the full set of Narnia books complete with my Sister's name in the front. They must be about 20 years old at least. The Magician's Nephew is the first in the series and to ease me back into reading, this became my bedtime read.



I don't remember the story at all from when I was little. It sets the scene for how Narnia was created and how the witch (and the lamp post!) came to be there. It's a nice easy read, perfect for fans of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe who want to know what happened before that story.

Best of all, it's a book with pictures!

Untitled.

12.1.11

Jogging (for beginners).

Last year I dabbled in a bit of jogging in preparation for Race for Life, but soon gave up once the race was over. I didn't put as much effort into the training as I could have done, and when it came to the race I had to take a few breaks. I won't even mention the incredibly steep hill 2 minutes in. In all honesty, I was disappointed in myself.

My trainers have had a dusting off as part of my new years resolution to take part in Race for Life again, and I'm out and about once more! Don't get me wrong, I'm no pro. I find it hard and I can't run for very long, but once I'm out there I really enjoy it.

I get the odd tweet asking for advice on how to get started and I thought I'd put together a little blog post of the things (and people) that inspire me, and what my beginners routine is.

I've mentioned my love for this blog before - it's brilliant. Very funny, regular posts so there's always something new to read, and just very inspiring!

I'm fairly new to this blog but this lady (and her tweets) inspire me constantly to get off my butt and move around! I particularly like this blog post as it shows what dedication, and a worthy cause, can achieve!

My iPhone app

If you've got an iPhone you don't need me to tell you about the array of running/diet apps out there, but this is the one I use. It was free so you can't say fairer than that! It times you and tracks your route; perfect if you don't know your new neighbourhood too well and you get lost easily (e.g. me). It saves each session so you can track your progress and see if your distance and average pace are improving.

Google
Type in 'Couch to 5k' and you'll find a zillion links to all things beginner. I used a 'Couch to 5k' program last year and it was a great starting block to get going. I'm loosely following a beginner to 10k program at the moment but I find I can push myself a little bit harder so I've gone off course slightly!

Slow progress
Each time I go out for a jog I increase by a minute each time. It doesn't sound much, but if I continue at that rate in a few months time I'll be running.... erm, a long way!

Celebs
I know, I know.. they have all the time in the world to exercise and they have access to the best personal trainers, but it does the trick for me. A quick look at a killer gym body makes me want to put down the 8th biscuit in a row. I'll leave you with some Victoria Secret models - why not!

Monday summary.

10.1.11


My 5 good things:

1) Plans to try Zumba! I have been curious about this workout class for a while and I've heard only good things about the classes - and I really want to give it a try! There is a class near me on a Monday evening so perhaps I could give it a whirl starting next week. Have you tried Zumba? If so I'd love to hear about it!

2) My general fitness. I went jogging twice last week and felt much faster and fitter than I did last year when I was training for Race for Life. I also did level 1 of the 30 Day Shred on Saturday and I found it..... easy!? I didn't even break a sweat. So level 2 here I come! I'm going to use 30 Day Shred as my inbetween workout dvd, so if it's too cold to jog or I just feel like exercising I'm going to use this instead.

3) Amazing food. I have spent the whole weekend eating yummy food and I'm going to try and share the recipes with you at some point. I am currently munching on an apple in the attempt to counteract all the calories I consumed on Saturday and Sunday.

4) Lots of new blog followers. Hello!! I'm glad you have stumbled upon Lily loves Lola and I hope you're enjoying my posts.

5) Plans for my birthday. I'll be 26 in a few weeks time and I've got a few ideas of things I'd like to do. I don't normally make a fuss of my birthday but this year I may even take the day off work! If you can't treat yourself on your birthday, when can you?!

Meadowhall & hair dye.

9.1.11

I popped to Meadowhall this morning (I say "popped", we were a good 2 hours!) and I picked up some things from The Body Shop - first on my list was a new facial buffer. I love these little things. Perfect for popping a bit of face wash on and scrubbing away. I have had one before and it made a really big difference to the look and feel of my skin.


I spotted this delightful hairbrush which is made with natural bamboo and popped it in my basket. I need a round brush as my hair needs a bit of help to look sleek towards the ends. It was only £6.00 which I thought was quite reasonable.


Finally I got some Vitamin E wipes as, when I use Double Wear foundation, face wash alone doesn't always remove it so I like to use face wipes as well. I have used these ones before and they were nice and gentle on my skin.


The last time I dyed my hair I wasn't overly pleased with the results colour-wise, and it left my hair looking a little bit red which I hated. I have been dying to ('scuse the pun) dye it again ever since but I wanted to wait as I'm pretty sure one of these days my hair is going to fall out. 

I picked up a packet of my faithful Nice n Easy 'Natural Dark Brown' yesterday which I have used a couple of times before - I first bought it as I thought the lady on the front was the prettiest of the brown colours :) The colour is spot on and it leaves my hair feeling silky, plus the tube of conditioner lasts for a few washes, so I think I'll stick to this in future. Plus it's only around £5.00.


Have you had any hair disasters lately?