Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Karma Kream reviewed: how one product has made me a Lush convert for life

Karma Kream, £13.95 for 225g or £6.95 for 100g
I'm not really sure why but I've never been much of a Lush person. I mean, haha, I certainly am a *lush* person (bit of bad Welsh humour for you there) but I have kind of passed the beauty brand by until now.

I think most people who aren't attracted solely by the company's awesome ethics latch on to Lush in their teenage years, or turn to it to help solve a specific beauty problem. We didn't have one in my hometown until I was a very poor student so Lush just didn't really catch my eye - until now.

Last month the Swansea branch invited me to their Christmas event (more on that to come!) and after browsing through all the beautiful bath bombs, soaps and other scrummy things on display, I decided to get myself a little treat.

I've recently started swapping perfume everyday for beautifully scented moisturisers instead so picking up a new body butter was a given. Completely out of my comfort zone I went for a pot of the Karma scented hand and body. It's a beautiful lotion, don't get me wrong, but I usually go for really light, barely-there scents. Karma on the other hand is fragranced with orange, patchouli and pine; it's heavy and almost like incense on the first sniff but then the lovely citrus tones come through, along with the fresh forest lilt.

You can really see why this has been one of Lush's long standing products, it's full of the heat of summer nights and the warmth of cosy winters. If you fancy a bewitching new product to perk up your November, I highly recommend a little tub of Karma Kream.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Harry Potter and the illustrated edition (or one grown woman's fangirl confession)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, illustrated edition, £15, Amazon
They say don't judge a book by its cover but with some it's really hard not to.

I am one of the fortunate ones who was growing up when Harry Potter hit the shelves. The world of muggles and wizards entered my life when I was 10 years old and to say it completely and utterly absorbed me is an understatement. I am a total fangirl - I mean, I don't have a shrine or anything, but HP completely utterly rocks my socks.

This purchase was a total no brainer for me. When the first editions of each Harry Potter instalment came out, I pre-ordered them through Amazon, to make *absolutely* sure they were there for my reading marathon on the very first day I could get my hands on them.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, illustrated edition, £15, Amazon
So back when this gorgeous illustrated edition was first listed, I did the same. To tween-age me's horror, however, I completely forgot I had done so until this parcel arrived at my door on the day it was released. But what a treat it turned out to be.

For me, Harry Potter will never really be Daniel Radcliffe's movie adventures, I'm a total true to text girl, inspired by Hermione's ballsy attitude and frizzy hair, following her, lanky Ron and the chosen one on their Hogwarts adventures. It's not often you can say that an illustration is just as you imagined but for me these drawings are pretty darn close.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

13 subtle ways to add a little bit of spookiness to your style this Halloween

Halloween is one of my absolute favourite times of year. If I could spend the whole month sipping bewitching brews in a bat-covered jumper I would be in absolute heaven.

Thing is, over the age of 12 it gets a little tricky to keep rocking the old witch hat every day. I would love to be wearing my glow in the dark skeleton tee and bat leggings all day, but when you have work to do, it gets a little hard to be taken seriously.

Enter these spooky pieces. I've put together 13 of the best, clothes and accessories with some subtle hints of Halloween to keep us busy girls going until the darkness descends!

1. Halloween mummy pyjamas, £16.50, ASOS
3. Girls bite raglan top, £25, Topshop
6. Halloween short briefs, £2.50, George at Asda
7. Halloween cobweb slippers, £25, ASOS Legacy
8. Glitter bat brooch, £5, Duck & Duffel at Not On The High Street
10. Dracula Halloween ankle socks, £3.50, Topshop
12. Sterling silver little ghost ear studs, £10, Attic at Not On The High Street
13. Witches hat charm necklace, £9.99, Oh So Cherised at Not On The High Street

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Summer sales flashback part 1: shoes and accessories

At the start of the summer I decided that I was going to collate all my sales buys into two posts - one on shoes and accessories and another on clothes. I figured I'd probably have it all done by the start of August and could share all my bargains with you.

Big mistake. Turns out shops don't go into sale the same time any more, so my end of season shopping stretched over about seven weeks, culminating in the middle of September when the first hints of tartan began to come into the shops. So excuse me while I run through this a lot quicker than I would have liked to, but hopefully you will get a good idea of what little gems sales can hold.

Black bag, £20 down from £4, Topshop
Gold bag, £19 down from £60, French Connection on ASOS
First up is a nice easy one: handbags. For a long time I have been coveting a really nice Michael Kors style shopper tote bag, so the black faux leather purchase from Topshop was a real no-brainer. It's really simple, soft and can carry all the junk I love to cart around with me every day!

The gold French connection messenger bag on the other hand is completely the opposite: small, structured, with lots of pockets for only the essentials. I originally bought it to go with a wedding outfit but it also became a nice little accessory for summer evenings out.

Shoe boots, £15 down from around £40, H&M
&Other Stories grey speckle heels, £7 down from £79, TK Maxx
White flats, £12 down from £28, Topshop
Black and pink sandles, £15 down from £28, Topshop.
Ahh the shoes. I never really classed myself as a shoe person, but I do seem to own quite a few pairs - and have definitely added to that this summer.

The shoe boots on the right were such a great purchase decision from H&M. They were down to £15 from about £40 and are just perfect for wearing with a nice top and jeans. Same goes for the &Other Stories speckle heels too - although these were an even better bargain at £7 instead of the original £80 in TK Maxx!

The other two pairs are both Topshop that I picked up on different lunch breaks while browsing through the racks. I am absolutely in love with the white shoes, they are so chic and have worked well into autumn too. The sandles on the other hand are not something I would ever usually go for but something about them screamed buy me (in hindsight it was probably the big 'reduced' sticker). They're a little clumpy compared to what I usually wear but have been great paired with cigarette trousers for work.

Tassel bracelet, £2, Topshop
Semi-precious pink stone dangly earrings, £2 instead of £7.50
Topshop Flame cuff earrings, £3, Accessorize
Three stone bangles, £4, Accessorize
Hoop earrings, £1, Outfit
Sterling silver midi ring, £5, Accessorize
Half moon semi precious stone necklace, price unknown, Topshop
Sterling silver curved bar necklace, £6 Accessorize
I'm going to run through the final few things so this post doesn't end up being a mile long but I think you can really see my changing style just from the jewellery I've picked up this summer. It started off with more plain, classically stylish pieces and went a bit more ornate as the weather got warmer. I'm not a huge one for colour (as you can see everything has been black/white, gold or silver) and I tend to opt for more delicate pieces too.

My absolutely faves so far as jewellery is concerned are the detailed midi ring and the tasselled bangle, both very different but each have quickly become a regular wear for me.

So, what do you think? Let me know how you rate my sale buys in the comments or use one of the social links below to get in touch! 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Primark perfume review: Can £6 Flora Exotica compete with designer brands?

Flora Exotica eau de toilette, £6, Primark
Judging by the monsoon-like downpours I drove home through last night, I think it's safe to say summer has come to an end - no matter how hard we try to deny it.

All the shops seem to be full of chunky knits and autumn colours but that doesn't mean we have to give up on sunny days entirely though, right?

When it comes to the beauty section at Primark, I can't say I've ventured further than make up sponges (so cheap, so good!) and nail polish before but something about this perfume caught my eye. I was running low on my Marc Jacobs anyway so figured I'd give it a sniff.

Both Next and M&S do amazing scents for half the price of designer brands so I'm no stranger to High Street perfumes - but with a £6 price tag could Primark really compete?

Well, the short answer is yes - with a catch. I smelt about three or four in the shop and Flora Exotica was the only one that didn't just ring of cheap body spray to my delicate nostrils. That being said, this tropical treat is superb.

The best way I can describe it without you actually smelling it is this: you know the smell of Hollister? That overpowering whiff you totally hate but kind of love all at once? Well it's like that, except with a grown up undertone to it. Below all that tropical freshness is this lovely deep sandalwood scent that reminds me of bonfires on the beach and walks around bustling foreign marketplaces on baking hot days.

Sure this may be a summer scent but for these last days before autumn properly hits us, it is absolutely perfect to keep that heat sizzling. It's quite strong and lasts all day (or night!) and hasn't disagreed with my sensitive skin once.

Overall I would highly recommend this tropical delight to perk up your September days.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A little taste of high price designer

Diet Coke bottles and tote bag designed by JW Anderson c/o Diet Coke
I do love a high street designer collaboration. As someone who could never dare splash £1,000 on a single item of clothing (I'm turning into a blue-faced emoji just thinking about it!) collabs are a really nice way to get a little splash of high price prints on a low cost budget.

The latest has come my way courtesy of the lovely gals at Diet Coke. DC have teamed up with J.W. Anderson this season to launch a new bottle design, with tees, a tote and a notebook on the side too.

According to the man himself, he was inspired to take his own knitwear print of Italy's Mount Vesuvio and use it to bring the bottle to life - so you get a tasty drink, designer style and holiday inspo all in one!

You can buy pieces from the collection in-store at Harvey Nichols and online too. Bottles cost £1.95.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

20% ASOS discount code and free Tresemme sample with Elle magazine

Who fancies a cheeky 20% off at ASOS?
It's been a while since I posted a bargain of the week post but this one is more than worth making an exception for.

The September edition of Elle UK has two fantastic freebies this month - a sample of Tresemme's perfectly undone wave foam and 20% off at ASOS!

The ASOS code can be used on any full price items as long as you register it at elleuk.com/asos before 3 September, and use the code by 10 September.

You'll also get a sneak peak at 48 of Elle's 60s-inspired wardrobe pics for the new season - which include some right gems, well worth the 20% off!

From top row left to right: ASOS tee with stripe in knit, £25; ASOS coat in cocoon fit, £85; ASOS Romance Me 60s ankle boots, £38; ASOS skater dress in jacquard leaf print with trim detail, £48; ASOS strap back keyhole maxi dress in orange floral, £65.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Mascara hunting: Rimmel, Bourjois and Maybelline reviewed

Mascara is the staple of my make up bag. I can go without everything else but it's not very often I'll leave the house without a quick flick of mascara on my lashes.

Thing is, finding the perfect mascara for a decent price which works for sensitive eyes is hard. For the last few months I have been using Eyeko's black magic which is totally amazing, but costs £18 for 8ml - not good for a thrifty girl like me.

So I took to the Boots make up stands in search of a replacement - and was not disappointed. I usually just have one staple mascara that I use day and night, but a 3 for 2 offer meant that I went home with a handful of choices from high street make up faves Rimmel, Maybelline and Bourjois.

Bourjois liner effect mascara, £9.99

The bottle (tube...? whatever it's called) says that this mascara, enriched with kohl, "emphasies lashes at their base for a perfect doe-eyed look". I never really believe what beauty products say on the bottle but it really does give you a bright, doe-eyed look. It lengthened and separated my lashes without making them too long and spindly i.e. a perfect doe-eyed look. My lashes flick out slightly at the corners and the way this mascara coated them gave me a bit of a cat eye look without the liner.

Verdict: 8/10. Love it, would probably buy again, but it's not really the versatile all day/everyday product I want as a staple.

Rimmel London Wonder'full mascara with argan oil, £7.99

This was my second tube of Wonder'full but this time around it just wasn't the same. Maybe it was the sample I bought or maybe it's not as good as I thought it was before using Eyeko, but it was kind of clumpy and just didn't really offer anything extra to my lashes. Sure, it gave them a bit of colour but otherwise I just found it to be little bit meh. 

I'd still recommend giving it a go though, even if you do just use it for everyday wear. When I first tried Wonder'full last year I really saw the difference the argan oil was making - my eyelashes were naturally fuller and I really did notice they were in better condition.

Verdict: 6/10. Not as great on my second go but it might just be a dodgy tube.

Maybelline lash sensational lash multiplying mascara, usually £7.99, on offer for £5.99

This mascara has had a lot of hype recently and to be quiet honest with you, it really deserves it. I used to use Maybelline's great lash back in the days when Lauren from Laguna Beach was wearing it too and I absolutely loved it...as did all the other teenage girls. I've always held Maybelline to quite high standards and lash sensational completely lived up to them.

This mascara made my lashes fuller, gave them more definition, and it doesn't flake, clump or irritate. The brush is a fantastic shape with defined bristles that reach every last lash and seems to fit around every contour without smudging on my face.

Verdict: 10/10. Until I can afford Eyeko, this is my new staple!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

This Primark star table lamp is a perfect Made.com dupe - but for just £10

Finding a good dupe while out shopping basically makes my world.

I've been fancying the Broadway-style star lamps on Made.com since I bought my lovely little tubby chair from the site in the Christmas sale. But unwilling (and unable) to pay the £99 price tag for the table lamp star, I added it to my bookmarks folder marked 'When I win the lottery'.

Star-shaped Broadway table light, £10, Primark
So imagine my surprise when I saw this lovely little lookalike at Primark last week. Standing at just under 30cms tall, it is a little smaller than the Made version (which is 45cm high) and its bulbs are a little softer - but with an £89 saving you can hardly complain!

The homeware bargains haven't stopped there either.

Every time I pop into Homesense or TK Maxx I am instantly drawn to those amazing Moroccan style trinket boxes, which usually hit about £12+ - not a massive expense but still, for some reason I just haven't wanted to spend that much on yet another storage box.

Tribal trinket box, £5, Wilko
These boxes, however, are from Wilko, knocked down to just £5 in the sale from £15. They don't look that big in this picture but actually they're a really good size, about 13x20 cm and 7.5cm deep. At the moment they're acting as beauty storage for me, mostly holding my ever expanding collection of lipsticks and sachet samples but to be quite honest they're perfect for storing jewellery, accessories...whatever you need them for!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

iPhone custom case giveaway and 20% CaseApp discount code

Matte bubble print iPhone case c/o CaseApp
Well hello there, how have you been? 

Me, I'm fine - and finally getting back into this blogging malarkey after two months of being messed around by various internet providers.

Fun, right?

So to celebrate my return to the internets, I have not one but two treats for you! The lovely guys at CaseApp got in touch a short while ago to see if I would like to sample a cute custom iPhone case - and of course I couldn't say no.

But it doesn't stop there, the team are offering one of you lucky lot the opportunity to win a super stylish case of your own too AND I have a lovely little discount code for everyone else!

I am really into everything beach and seaside related at the moment (it comes with living so close to the sea in the summertime) so I went for the bubble water print in matte, but there are tons of other patterns and prints to choose from on the website, caseapp.co.uk.

To win a new case for your phone, simply enter the giveaway below or if you just can't wait that long, you can order a stylish little something using this 20% code at the checkout: CHEERFULCASE2015. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*The 20% discount code CHEERFULCASE2015 is valid for use on caseapp.co.uk until 14 July 2015.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

15 pouches you probably don't need (but definitely will want!) in your handbag

With very limited storage space in my little house, I have to keep things pretty concise in my wardrobe - but there's three things I have managed to accumulate tens of. Nail varnish, lippies and zip top pouches apparently are my shopping kryptonite. 

Nevermind the fact that I usually carry a big slouchy bag around with all the contents rolling around inside, I've managed to accumulate a neat little pile of pouches and zip top clutch bags, sitting on one of the shelves in my wardrobe.

Thing is, pouches and clutches are just so versatile for summer. Use them as bags, storage, whatever, they are worth their weight in gold (although admittedly that's not much!!!)

Pouches from L-R:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

L'oreal make up haul: saving with a £5 Diet Coke discount and 3 for 2

All this for £20!
I have one heck of a beauty bargain for you: if you buy a 500ml bottle of Diet Coke in Boots before 26 May, you get £5 off L’Oreal Paris Color Riche L’Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick, making it just £3.99!

I went on a mini beauty binge the other day and managed to save £12.99 thanks to Diet Coke and an in-store 3 for 2 offer on L'Oreal, so *of course* to justify it on my bank balance, I thought I would share it with you here...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

17 summer fashion pieces you can buy at the supermarket

When it comes to shopping, fashion I love, food I detest. There's something about the monotonous wandering around supermarket aisles that does my absolute head in - so I often find myself wandering up the escalator to take a look at the clothes racks.

hanging on those racks there are some real hidden gems, at absolute bargain prices. I've had everything from smart work dresses to long-lasting staple tees, most of which have lasted just as well as my High Street buys.

As the weather's getting warmer, I thought now would be the time to pick out the best on offer and share it with my fellow fashion hunters!

First up is George at Asda. I don't go to Asda that often but whenever I do, I make sure to browse through the clothes (and the homeware too, for that matter). My favourite here is the pair of versatile cut out boots, a winner with bare legs and they will transition to autumn too.

1.Patterned pleat skirt, £8 (on sale); 2. Cat eye sunglasses, £5; 3. Cut out shoe boots, £18; 4. Tile print skinny jeans, £16; 5. Crochet dress, £18, all George at Asda
The designs at TU at Sainsbury's always have a bit more of a classic feel to them. Each and every one of the picks below you could have for years to come without them losing their fashion appeal.

1. Pointed tan pumps, £14; 2. Mesh panel swimsuit, £18; 3. Collarless coral jacket, £25; 4. Cream blouse, £12; 5. Cut-out floral pumps, £14, all TU at Sainsbury's
And finally, we come to Tesco. F&F is slightly more seasonal fashion, and probably not as long lasting when it comes to trends but it does mean you can emulate a really chic look for an incredibly low cost.

1. Striped tube skirt, £12; 2. Colour block pouch, £8; 3. White waterfall jacket, £28; 4. Cream floral shorts, £14; 5. Metal trim cage sandals, £10; 6. Striped peep toe pumps, £12; 7. Laser cut clutch bag, £12, all F&F at Tesco

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Primark haul: splurging on summer wear

I'm going to apologise straight off and say I have no idea what the prices are for half of these products. Brilliant blogger, right? I was supposed to keep the receipt in a safe place - and I did. It's just so safe, I forgot. 

Anyway, let's just mosey on with the vague assumption that this came to about £60 in total.

Black suede material kitten heels, Primark
First up are this lovely little kitten heel slingbacks. So not me, I hate pointed shoes (I always think they look like penguin's flippers, for some reason) but I was in total Primark binge mode so I thought I'd try them anyway. They had really nice baby pink ones as well, which I kind of wish I'd bought over the black - but you just can never go wrong with a good black heel so it was a function over fashion choice.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

On being more impulsive in little ways

I am a very stressful person by nature and have to have things planned exactly - and if those plans don't go as I want them to, usually it really affects my mood.

The last few years have seen all that change though, moving in with a man who is intrinsically laidback has meant that I've really had to tone down the Type A so that we work better together.

And one part of that has meant becoming more impulsive, and less controlling. Our house isn't the Pinterest-perfect haven I want it to be (yet), and I've achieved less in the last year overall than I would have liked to but, weirdly, considering it's not the life I would typically stress over achieving, I'm a lot happier.

The lovely ladies at Diet Coke emailed over some really interesting stats recently, as they launch their new 'Regret Nothing' campaign, inspiring women to be more impulsive, and encourage us to create positive experiences, adventures and fulfilment. According to their survey, only 31% of women do something outside their comfort zone every year - and the average female has five major regrets to obsess over.

In the modern age of having all, this is quite shocking. Yes, I read all the magazine features on fear of missing out etc etc. But when you put into such succinct numbers, it seems personal. For the majority, myself included, to still be fairly reserved and worrying that they're not living an Instagram ideal life is a blunt reminder that we really do put far too much pressure on ourselves.

Now it's all very well and good me harping on from behind a keyboard but just exactly how can you be more impulsive? Surely planning impulsive acts makes it non-spontaneous?

Well the way I do it is to just say yes to the little things, and for every bad thought I have, I make myself flip it on its head.

So every once in a while I turn down extra work because I just want a little time for me; I have an extra biccy with my tea just because I fancy it; I book little trips away and don't worry about the money or taking tons of photos to share on social media...I just enjoy myself.

It's not the most glamorous life, and it's certainly not the most exciting but acting on these little impulses has made me a thousand times happier.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

9 denim dress that won't make you look like a cowgirl

March 2015 is becoming the month of the denim dress. Everyone seems to be obsessed with getting the perfect one. Lucky old me picked a really cute pale blue smock version with pockets from Topshop last summer (during the sale obv) but I'm seriously considering eBaying for an upgrade.

The thing is that most of my current wardrobe leans towards the smart work wear side of things so any denim garment I buy has to be stylish enough to detract from the material. Denim dresses tend to look like they're better suited to cutesy cowgirls - a big no-no for a reporter like me. 

Each of these dresses may look fairly casual in themselves but with denim it's all about adding accessories to a a versatile canvas: a blazer here, or a statement necklace there and you can completely change the look of any of them. 

From top, left to right:
  1. La Fee Maraboutee sleeveless denim dress, £53.40, House Of Fraser
  2. 1969 pleated denim dress, £15.99, Gap
  3. Utility shift dress, £45, Oasis
  4. ASOS waisted denim t-Shirt dress in textured fabric, £32, ASOS
  5. Hudson long sleeve denim shift dress, £25, Missguided
  6. Buttoned denim shirt dress, £21, Forever 21
  7. MOTO Indigo Wash T-Shirt Dress, £38, Topshop
  8. Sugarhill Boutique denim polka skater dress, £18, House Of Fraser
  9. Denim stripe sleeveless wrap dress, £35, River Island

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Zara and Topshop haul: this is why you should always shop end of sale

No matter what time of year it is, When I go shopping I head straight for the sale racks. Call me crazy but there are some real gems to be found hanging on that little rail tucked at the back of the shop.

Sure, there's a lot of make up stains, missing embellishments, and pulled and scagged material to wade through, but I've found some of my best bargain buys at the end of or outside sale season.

Navy and khaki linen t-shirts, Zara, £3.99 instead of £15.99 each; Tassel necklace, Freedom at Topshop, £1 instead of £7.50 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Empty cupboards (or how to make dinner when you have nothing in the house)

The amount of time I've spent looking in my cupboards and wondering what to eat lately is kind of ridiculous. We've both been so busy - and ill - that the house seems to be constantly in a state of not having the right food in. 

When it comes to cooking, I tend to avoid packet mixes of herbs and spices. The cost of a little sachet for one time use compared to stocking up the store cupboard with bigger individual jars of each flavour for not much more seems like a waste of money.

That is, unless you're planning a Mexican feast, when you really need to combine a *lot* of tastes.

Enter Old El Paso

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Autumn 2016: This is the season of sentimentality

It started with a dress - a wedding dress to be precise. But not any old wedding dress, the one all celeb followers have been waiting for-ev-er to see: Angelina Jolie's.
Her simple gown and veil covered with scribbles and doodles may not have been to everyone's taste but it epitomised the real reason why Angelina and Brad Pitt waited until August 2014 to get married. It was the final piece in their perfect family jigsaw. They were content, settled and surrounded by love and happiness with their brood of children - and marriage, for them, was just a little footnote to their lives.

Fashion isn't typically for the sentimental: you get touches of it here and there - take Chanel's tweed for example, loved and used in every collection since the days of Coco - but clothes are more throw away these days, with only a few making it into fashion halls of fame.

But this is the season that all that changes.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Dieting is not deprivation (or how I learned to lose weight and eat brownies)

Way back last year I wrote about how I was trying a new diet book, The Hungry Girl by Lisa Lillien. And while the weight loss is still ongoing (I'm pleased as punch but not quiet at my target yet), I thought I'd share a little of Lisa's wonderful motivation and inspiration with you.

If you haven't tried it, Lisa's book basically teaches you to replace all the delicious stodgy foods that are very sadly perfect for weight gain with high volume and high fibre fillers. Sounds boring, right? I won't lie, it took me a few days to get into it. But after the first week I was FULL of energy, and had already lost a couple of pounds. That was a couple of months back now but the whole thing taught me a lot about food, and how to eat healthy without feeling like you're missing out.

One of Lisa's little tricks is to stick to 100 calorie snacks, and although she shares some fantastic recipes, there are some days when you just really need to stuff your face with a brownie. Thankfully a quick Google will turn up a whole host of yummy, low cal treats.

Take this recipe by the Londoner, it is just exquisite - and simpler to make than a bowl of cereal: all you do is preheat the oven to 200C and grease a small, square baking tray. Then it's just a matter of mixing all the ingredients in a blender and pouring them into the tray. Bake for 20 minutes then cut into nine pieces when cool.

The just sit back with a cuppa and enjoy your cheeky little treat without the dieter's guilt!

Ingredients: 180g low fat yoghurt; 60ml skimmed milk; 64g cocoa powder; 43g wholegrain rolled oats; 64g truvia (or another stevia-based sweetener); 1 egg; 1tsp baking powder; a pinch of salt

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Wright's food emporium: a birthday treat on a crisp day in Carmarthenshire

Sickness meant that my birthday celebrations were a little bit delayed this year, so it wasn't until last weekend that we managed to make it to Carmarthenshire for a Sunday lunch with the family.

There's not many places where I live that get me that excited about food. Except for the 'spoons down the road - I could eat their onion rings until I die. 

*Ahem* What I meant to say is I love trying new restaurants but it's a tough job to get on my favourites list.

White bean and beet veggie burger with Hafod cheese, £8, and scoops of strawberry, coffee and salted caramel, £5
My dad suggested Wright's food emporium for a birthday treat a while ago. I'd sort of vaguely heard of it so didn't know what to expect, but the good, wholesome, homemade food on offer looked seriously impressive.

I mean, it's not often I'll deal with having a burger and no chips alongside it, but these incredible buns were just perfect.

I had the insanely good white bean and beet burger above, with huge dollops of catsup to dip into. I've had plenty of veggie burgers in my time but this one tops the list. It was stodgy enough to be filling, and the sauce gently splodged under the roll compliment the light bean and beet mix.

Hazelwell farm beef burger with pickled red onions and rarebit topping, £8.50, and one very tasty cappuccino
The ice cream, meanwhile, was just the right kind of creamy, just the right amount of flavour, and just the right size too, after that eye-popping burger.

All in all, I have to say that everything at Wright's was exactly what this birthday girl needed as a little pick me up after being ill over Christmas.

Some of the delectable treats on offer in the Wright's shop

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

New year, same old me

Frizzy hair, broken nails and an old shirt but always content with my flaws
There comes a point in everyone's life when you realise that you don't have to be cool any more.

That sounds like a really flippant, silly remark but oh, the overwhelming relief that comes with knowing you don't have to live up to someone else's expectations. Knowing that what you wear, how you do your make up, or how good your selfies are doesn't have to be dictated by the masses is just a heavenly feeling.

Not that I can say I have ever been cool though, I was the girl sitting in the library reading Terry Pratchett books at lunch, but I'm rambling - I was supposed to be writing about New Year's resolutions.

But the thing is, I don't actually have any resolutions. For the first time in my 27 year long life I actually feel content. Sure, I could stand to lose a few more pounds, and put in a bit more effort so far as keeping my house tidy goes, but for once I don't have that overwhelming stress hanging over me that I had got so used to.

It's not been an easy ride getting to this point in my life, but it's something that so many of our generation are striving towards, this high aspiration of simple happiness.

So this year, take a little leaf out of the book of those who are content and just be ok with yourself. You're beautiful even when you don't feel it, you're smart even when you feel stupid, you are who you are so it's time to start loving yourself as much as the rest of the world does.

And as for a New Year's resolution? Forget it - nobody sticks to them anyway.

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