Friday, 31 October 2014

Free For All Friday: 10 Things to Do in Autumn

1. Make a family time capsule and bury it in the garden (or hide it in the loft).

2. Have a baking day, nothing says Autumn to me like the smell of baking. Apple pies, rock buns and parkin all hold special memories.

3. Go for a night-time walk and see what stars you can spot (there are apps that can help with this).

4. Board game tournament, winner stays on. 

5. Movie marathon, pjs and duvet optional. 

6. Start a craft project. Crochet/knit a blanket, mug hug.  Try this blog for ideas torontoknitcafe

7. Drink hot chocolate at sunset, at the beach

8. Make a family 'Bucket' List. For ideas visit 

9. Tell spooky stories. here

10. Wrap up warm and go for a walk kicking though the autumn leaves. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Dieting Rollercoaster... failure

This past couple of weeks have not been good.

Carrying on from the tooth pains of the previous week I've been wallowing in my insecurities over life events at the bottom of a packet. You name it, I've probably hit the bottom of it at some point.

I wasn't going to write about it, then I thought where is the use in that. Ignoring the problem in the vague hope that it will just go away.

I've still not got on the scales as I don't want to see just how much I have gained again, but I can feel in my skin that it isn't going to be pretty.

Tapping into the reasons why I want to be smaller is key, my heart must be in it and right now it isn't.

It's a shame that you can't just throw money at it for the problem to go away.

Holistic treatment for life is required. Finding that happy balance where I don't go searching.

Stress is a trigger for me. I have spent a lot of time lately feeling unbalanced and tense. With no real down time. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. I don't want to let anything go by and feel the need to live life to the fullest. This is also my downfall as I don't sit down so much as fall down.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Avon's Stardust Nail Enamel in Teal Glitter

Just in time for the myriad of Christmas events that are beckoning Avon have released a new range of nail enamels. 

As a rep my customers have been loving the magnetic effect polishes this month. 

I have also sold a lot of this Stardust brand. 

On paper they look good. Promising a matte finish with opalescent glitter in different sizes for a unique 3D effect. 

On the nails they look even better. Easy to apply, I've had this colour on for 3 days now and barely a chip in sight. There is a bit of wear of the edge of my ring finger, but that isn't bad - considering I can chip varnish in a matter of minutes of applying it. 

It dries quickly. And I mean really quickly. 

I barely got the chance to smudge it! 

I have also bought the enamel in Radiant Rose which appears to be a bright cerise colour and I have my eye on the Cherry Dazzler for Christmas. 

Radiant Rose
Cherry Dazzler

Currently £3. You can buy online here or find your closest representative here

My Nail Woes... Continue

As you know I have started to grow my nails for a particular look I want for this October.

Again my nail have decided that the one thing that they don't want to do is remain strong and intact.

I have had to employ some canny measures this week to stop them from tearing any further than they are already.

My secret weapon is a tea bag. A tea bag and some super glue.

I have been keeping my nails painted so that they have that extra strength that they need. One of the many side effects of having low b12 levels is that your nail can be quite brittle.

These are the tools of my patch up job.

My two offending nails. They look rough don't they.

I empty the contents of the tea bag. 

Then cut two small pieces.

I add a small blob of glue to the tear/break. 

And place the tea bag slip on the top. (bad pic my apologies)

 Wait the for the glue to dry and buff the nail/paper until smooth.

Coat with polish (slightly better than I have here)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

What I Made... Platters.

For yesterday's Wine Night event I also made a couple of platters up for the other guests.

It's been a while since I've done any out of the family catering.

Luckily it was only for a select few guests, so I went down the continental platter route.

A cheese boards and charcuterie.

Being on a bit of a budget I did my shopping at Aldi. There range is amazing, even in the small shops.

On the cheese board above I used a Danish Blue, blue isn't always popular however you rarely get a bad word said about the Danish over the Stilton, a sharp vintage cheddar, soft goats cheese and brie. To accompany them some fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts to add a bit of texture. There was also some caramelized onion chutney and a tomato and chilli chutney on the side too.

I love goats cheese and caramelised onion chutney. It's like one of the best things in the world.

On the charcuterie (or meat) platter I picked up the Italian and Spanish selection of salamis, parma ham and Mediterranean chicken. In the middle is a roast pepper tortilla, and in the ramekins green and black olives, roasted peppers and artichokes. 

For each platter there was a selection of breads including ciabatta and some sunflower seed white rolls. 

Both platters went down really well. I was rather proud. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

What I've Been Doing... Wine Night

This weekend I was lucky to be able to take part in a wine tasting. 

I was slightly too engrossed in the wine (and their amazing labels) to take many photos so I apologise for that. 

Firstly I seem to have been kidnapped by the 1970s for my look of the evening. 

I didn't even use a filter on that shot

These are the remnants of the wines we were lucky enough to try. And as a normally avid loather of white wine, and a dedicated bottle of pink drinker, I can hand on heart say I didn't hate any of them. 

In fact I'm hoping to stock up on a buttery white number in time for Christmas... now if I could remember which one it was!

Unlike other wine events I've been part of this was more of a guided wine night. Very informal and expertly lead by Sean Walsh from Howden's Flourish and Prosper. There was a mix of everything from light sparkling rose, to a buttery white through to a really robust red. 

Ibis Rosato Frizzante: This one is a light pink. Barely sparkling, would be really good as a sunny day garden drink. On the sweet side of a dry wine, very light and fruity. Almost a sorbet quality to it. Very much a wine that you could easily drink without realising just how much you have had. Also very reasonably priced at £7.99. 

Johnny Q Shiraz: This Johnny Q number was beautiful. It had a definite mouthfeel. And just screamed for some dark chocolate truffles, spiked with orange zest and chilli.(Bonnie I think I can feel an order coming on).  I could see myself screwed up in front of a roaring fire, with a good book, a candle and something cinnamonny going on too for good measure. £10.99. 

Passion Has Red Lips, Cabernet Shiraz: This is an eye-opener screaming for attention... and that's just the label. You could be forgiven for thinking that this red would be all style and no substance. When in fact the three innovative Australian winemakers Some Young Punks have created a rich, dark fruity little number. This one when perfectly with the Danish blue that was hanging out on my cheese board. £14.45.

Each one of the wines I've written about here are definitely worth the money. They knock the socks off their factory farmed competitors, although I will always have a soft spot for Gallo's White Zinfandel

Monday, 20 October 2014


Little things have been irking me for the last month or so. 

I live in a small town. Well, it used to be a small town. According to the 2011 census we had 6,429 residents registered (in 2001 there was 5,212). This number keeps rising. 

However, our amenities keep dwindling. 

Why? Well I have a theory. Until recently I was primarily a stay-at-home mum. I shopped on the High Street, I used all three of the banks in town and the Post Office most weeks. 

In the last year we have lost a major bank, and about to lose a second (the cost to lease certain properties in town is huge in comparison to the footfall and trade), and the third changed allegiances when Lloyds and TSB parted ways again. The cost to lease a property in town is huge. We have also lost our weekly market. This is not good for a market town first given its charter in 1251.

Now I work out of town, like a majority of the residents, I commute to work. I spend my time elsewhere and spend my money in the equally small town that I work in. 

Somehow we have a myriad of hairdressers, and shops that deliver pizza. Two Indian restaurant/takeaways and two Chinese takeaways. The Indians and Chineses don't deliver. Now then what other delights does our High Street have to offer? 

Six pubs, 3 cafes, 2 butchers (soon to become one), 2 clothes shops, 7 hairdressers, 3 beauticians, 1 carpet shop, 1 sweet shop, 1 DIY shop, 2 charity shop (one is a chain, the other a local shop for local people), 3 gift shops, 2 florists, 1 fruit and veg shop, 3 estate agents, 2 legal firms, the paper shop, 1 chemist, 3 supermarkets and a few other small concerns. We are lucky that we have a varied high street. However we have units standing empty. The shops we do have are struggling, the number of people down the high street are lower than they ever have been before. 

There is little or no work for people in town, and those who work in the cities on either side spend the majority of their time their and do their shopping online. 

Did you notice that there was no where apart from pubs to go and blow off steam. Once the lights go down, the town essentially dies. There is no cinema, no family restaurants - or indeed nowhere to sit down for a meal that isn't Indian.There is a lawn bowling club and a lawn tennis club, but that is essentially all. Functions are rare, those that are there are again either in a pub - in the form of a band. We do have a good range of music in a number of the pubs. But if you want something different its a case of driving 20+ miles to do it. 

Our nearest swimming pool is either 9 or 13 miles away. Our nearest bank is either 9, 13, or 22 miles away. 

We are losing our sense of community. There are still some old guard left, but they don't like change. Sadly, change is coming whether they like it or not. 

Some try to bring new ideas in. Those ideas are often shot down, either due to a lack of interest, communication or just apathy thinking 'ah, someone else will sort it'. 

This could lead to us losing so much more than another bank. We could lose our identity. As we become bigger more crime is occurring, more cars on the road, less care taken for our neighbours. The MTV generation want everything now and just how they want it. 

Twenty years ago you wouldn't have been seen arriving at school in a car. Ten years ago it was still rare. Now there are cars everywhere, and they arrive up to 45 mins before the start or home-time. Primarily these are residents in the town. My home town is barely 2 miles long from end to end. So it baffles me why so many cars appear. Not all of them live out of range of the school buses. 

Another road in my town has had a shift in their traffic flow too. Our doctor's surgery was stretched with the rapidly growing patient list, unable to extend further where they already were they have built a brand new surgery with pharmacy. It isn't anywhere close to being as accessible as the old surgery, and at present the traffic is winging it's way down a road that was designed to be a cul-de-sac. This has been a shock to those residents. At least when I moved in I was aware that I would have a high level of traffic at school times. This year has been worse than in the previous 14 I have been at my property, and worse than I can ever remember as I grew up with my grandparents living on this street too. 

What we do need to do is talk to each other. 

Respect each other. 

Take a risk, try something new. 

Support our local businesses. We are in the danger zone of being full of lego-fit shops with global brands and no significant identity at all. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Free For All Friday: Hunger Games

This week I've been attached to the audio books of The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Oh my... next to catch up with the films.

In it's honour here are my 10 favourite Hunger Games related things from +Pinterest


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Autumn: I Want List: Yours Clothing

Now the weather is changing and the prospect of Christmas parties and the month-long dress down period in the office is beckoning I've been making my way through the New In page on Yours Clothing. 

Here are my favourites in no particular order.

Black Sweat Top With Mixed Yarn Panels And Zip Pockets. I'm liking the idea of this with either a pair of wooly leggings or my overdyed black bootcut high-waisted jeans. A possible Mummy staple with an office side line. £25

This Black & Purple Rose Print Skater Midi Dress With Patent Belt looks like it could be a multi-functional item. I'm seeing parties, and I'm also seeing office wear, even the odd coffee shop trip. I'm also drawn to the fact that it's a midi dress. Rare with the skater styles, I'm hoping that this means with my height it will lead to a decent length, rather than the indecent skirts that I usually end up with. £25

Another jumper that could end up in my collection, but which one the grey or the raspberry? They are both so nice and equally suitable for work, mummy duties and general wear. The decisions. I wouldn't be upset if either of them landed on my doormat. £28

A Christmas party worthy dress now. Oh my, the places I could wear this. I'm popped it in my basket a couple of times now. I love a good swing dress. I do fear that this could be one of those risqué dresses length wise. I dream of a time when swing dresses and skater skirts routinely come in more than one length like trousers and jeans have finally started to. I'm imagining sparkly shoes and a large clutch with this beauty. £26

I have only recently discovered the greatness that is the onesie. I can't believe that it took me so long. I've only got one, and sadly it is a summer weight affair and has now been on numerous cub camps. This festive number is a cosy-looking fleece with a hint of reindeer. Obviously, when I say hint I mean it has been bashed with the Christmas stick while tumbling down a tinsel strewn Christmas tree. £25

This shirt is shouting at my inner cowgirl/lumberjack. I can see me dressing it up a little with my black suit for the office, or even with a skater skirt and a black v-neck jumper. I can also see me wearing it on a weekend with a pair of thick leggings and my converse or with my high waisted jeans or under a black dress. £20 

My final pick for today is another onesie. Even more festive that the one before, if only for the gingerbread girls and bright red fabric. The fabric has been described as super soft and cosy. Mmm. How good does that sound for a duvet day, snuggled up with a Christmas film and a cinnamon scented hot chocolate or chai latte? £25

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

What I've Been Eating

I've not done a food diary in a while, so here we go.

Mince pie porridge

Banana and almonds

I've been drinking this all day

Covent Garden's Pumpkin Goulash 

Mini Oreo cookies... I love these so much.

Slow cooker chicken chow mein 

Pasta and sausage meatballs