sophie didn't do anything at all.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

/ day 25 / 30 day snap

Day 25 - are we nearly there yet?

Today we made the long trek back to Newcastle. Not only was it the sunniest day yet, but it was also boiling. Ugh.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

/ day 23 / 30 day snap

Day 23 - dance with me

My tallest friend and my boyfriend bonded today over a game of badminton. They were perfectly in sequence. If you are wondering about the bunting - it was another friends 21st. Absolutely wonderful.


Saturday, 22 June 2013

/ day 22 / 30 day snap

Day 22 - good morning sunshine

It doesn't matter if it's tea or coffee, I pretty much always start my day with a mugful. I don't think I'm addicted (probably am), but it guarantees 10 minutes to gather my thoughts before the day ahead.

Friday, 21 June 2013

/ day 21 / 30 day snap

Day 21 - unashamedly uncool

We have a tradition. It all started because two of my closest friends from secondary school and I once spent an entire day locked inside playing a Lord of the Rings gamecube game (please don't judge me, they were playing, I was watching). We enjoyed it thoroughly. It then happened once a week for the rest of summer and I have to admit that secretly it was great.

Future attempts to recreate this event fell flat - we needed to find a replacement. A few days ago one of them suggested the online version of the game, in which you can connect any number of accounts and play as a group. I was a little apprehensive. It wasn't really my thing.

 Sitting watching the boys Gamecube-ing it 1P is almost acceptable, but actually being a player changed the game. The boyfriend and my other two friends pretty much carried me through and offered wise words of support. I disappeared for a few hours to make everyone food, but we spend most of the day doing 'quests'.

Yeah. I guess we had fun ;). Kind of?


Thursday, 20 June 2013

/ food / coffeeshop review / Burgers Bakery

I went for a late breakfast with a good old chum of mine, but while she was off trying to work out where to pay for parking, I made a small friend. He seemed quite determined to roll all around the place.

We decided to head to a little tearoom at the bottom of the highstreet called Burgers (pronounced Bergers, rather than the burger in a bun, rhymes with urge[r]s).

The weather can't seem to make its mind up - it's so hot and muggy!

I went for English Breakfast (£2.25)
She went for green tea (£2.25)
We both went for wholemeal toast (their own bread) with strawberry jam. 

You have to choose between white, wholemeal or granary with either marmalade or jam. Decisions. (£2.50)

I really love Burgers, the staff are really friendly, but service can sometimes be a little slow (when it's busy). It's a proper little tearoom, and smells gorgeous - courtesy of the freshly baked breads. 

If you are ever in the Marlow area I strongly recommend a visit - even if its just for a cake (or two!).



/ day 20 / 30 day snap

Day 20 - birthday party

People. This cake may  not look special but damn did it taste good. It's a take on a victoria sponge (with buttercream instead) and lashings of jam.



Wednesday, 19 June 2013

/ food / coffee shop review / Waitrose

Today, my dad, boyfriend and I took a trip to Waitrose. Not only did we shop til we dropped, but we stopped off at the Cafe upstairs and had ourselves a cuppa (or two). 

I don't know if you have heard, but if you have a 'myWaitrose' card you are entitled to one free tea or coffee every day. My dad loves this deal because it means he can 'keep us quiet' for less of the money. The thing I love most about this tiny cafe is the ability to people watch, from the balcony you can see everyone doing their thing. I would happily sit there all day.

Whilst I was content with my tea, the boys pushed the boat out and went for some sweet treats - my dad a Danish Fruit Bears Claw and the boyf a chocolate muffin.

His review of the pastry was a short but sweet 'good', but from what I can gather he enjoyed it sufficiently to wolf it down. 

My man put this muffin down as 'nothing amazing' but I think it did the job - anything accompanied by a free tea/coffee would never taste all too bad.

I absolutely adore their tea pots / mugs. Am currently browsing the internet for something similar - help!



/ day 19 / 30 day snap

Day 19 - a day in the sun

It was so hot today, so I sat out in the sun with my kindle (Game of Thrones). I only managed half an hour though before fearing a burn (despite factor 30).

Have you been enjoying the sun?


/ food / cinnamon toast

My boyfriend demanded a bacon sandwich this morning. I had to inform him he ate it all yesterday, and that it was off the menu. He then asked for eggs, and we came up against a similar problem. Cereal was out of the question given a lack of milk. and he isn't exactly a fan of fruit.

As a last resort I offered up cinnamon toast to which he reluctantly agreed. Never before had I been so anxious to get this recipe right.

2 slices of toast
60g butter
60g sugar (I mixed brown and white)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
A splash of vanilla essence
A preheated oven - 180C

Now what?
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together.

Once you've done this, add the cinnamon (check it tastes nice!) and ensure it is stirred thoroughly.

Place your toast on a tray and spread it generously with the butter mixture.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes. When you remove it, the toast should be crisp and the sugar bubbly. Obviously, it will be hot - please don't be silly and take a bit bite just yet!

Cut, serve and enjoy!



/ beauty / review / Soap and Glory / the fab pore


I have a slight crush on all Soap and Glory products. It's the combination of pink and their quirky product labels (not to mention I haven't found a product I don't like) that makes me want to go on a shopping spree. 

I've been using this product for a while now (this is in fact my second pot),so I thought I would put up my review. 

What I like most about The Fab Pore facial peel  is that it can be used in two ways - the first is just simply to massage it onto damp skin and leave for a few minutes for a quick refresher, or the second is to leave it on for 15 minutes for a deep-cleaning facial. 

The claims (as provided by Soap and Glory)
Intensive pore refining action
An exclusive PORESHRINK-R COMPLEX ideal for greasy, spot prone or problem skin
A strategic attack on a misbehaving T-zone
Contrains: Fomes Officinalis extract- a mushroom extract to tighten pores, Salicyclic acid - loosens dead skin cells to help reduce pore clogging, Kaolin - clay, soaks up extra oil on your skin and smooths the surface, Vitamins E & C - antioxidants, anti-aging

The reality
I generally use this mask three times a week, once for a deep cleanse and the others just for a refresher - it helps settle those 'oily days'. I can't really compare it to other masks, there may be better out there, but this one has just worked for me. The consistency is really creamy and it smells lovely, there are little green beads in it which dissolve as you rub the mask onto your face.

 As for pore shrinkage, the difference has only been slight - so not quite fulfilling that promise. It tingles when you put it on, though some of my friends say it burns - I guess it depends on the sensitivity of your skin so bear that in mind before buying. 

It retails for £8.00 and is available here.

Have you tried this product? Or would you recommend something else?



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

/ fathers day / afternoon tea

Fathers day 

I bought my dad the usual - a card and a big bag of pear drops (his favourite). I then made him a bacon sandwich before we hit the gym.

Following working out, we then had to decide on what to have as a Sunday lunch. My dad can be a little demanding when asked 'what do you want to eat', and today being Father's Day the answer had to be yes. The list began with lemon drizzle cake, my sisters lemon shortbread and scones. I stated in a recent post that I wanted to produce my own afternoon tea service, but didn't anticipate it to  be so soon.With the menu pretty much established we trawled the supermarket for our list of ingredients - our little gang makes quite a sight on a Sunday morning.

So  below  is the success of my to do list...

- Make my own jam: I did try to find the right fruit for today, I promise, but we had to settle with a Bonne Maman Strawberry and Wild Strawberry conserve. It's still on my to do list!
- Make a batch of scones: Delia Smith has a lovely recipe, one we have used numerous times.... just not this time - too tired from lifting weights

- Make traditional sandwiches: I did this. For various reasons my family is quite fussy, so only the ham sandwiches and salmon and cream cheese rolls made it through the vigorous selection process... I'll turn them into foodies one day! I also threw in some honey and mustard cocktail sausages to fill some tummies.

- Provide an assortment of cakes and biscuits: see, my sister and I had that covered too!

for the recipes: lemon cake or the shortbread

- Lemonade: Ame/Schloer will do. We mixed a couple of flavours together to really make it bubble.

Overall the spread looked like this. I would have included an 'after' picture but there was nothing left - you'll have to make do with the before!

Yummy! This type of food makes me so happy.

We ate out in our little 'hut' enjoy the relative warmth of the afternoon, and chatted over a few rounds of cuppa's and chocolates. I think my dad appreciated the effort!



/ fitness / Insanity workout review

Hi chaps,

Before you read this - it might be worth checking out my fitness history!

I waited this long (as in, to finish) to write a review purely because I was so skeptical.
Let's be honest, we've all started these 'exercise videos' in the hope they offer the magic spell and turn us into fitness buffs, and haven't even gotten close to the desired results. The Insanity workout seems to have some stigma for those in the know, so here's my breakdown of the process...

my calender - daunting huh!

What is it?
A 60 day workout that will transform your body and mind.

I thoroughly researched Insanity. I spent a lot of time googling reviews and different bloggers opinions to see just what I was letting myself in for. There's an intro video which gently reminds you to not undertake the sessions lightly and to look after yourself throughout.

Week 1
Week 1 started with a fit test, and introduced you to the workouts. It's a baptism by fire, you don't get eased in. That's fine though, hit the ground running and ache (my motto for the past 60 days). Even the recovery day is tough, it burns. You kind of develop a quiet appreciation for Shaun T and his gang of workout buddies, its encouraging to see them struggle too (they always take breaks and look about to collapse). I just look red. By Sunday you've definitely earned that rest day.

Seriously though, you'll be sick in the first week.

Week 2
My body was not about to forgive me for the previous week, and the first few days were really hard to settle. That's the problem with interval training, I find I can push myself too hard and then just blow up. By wednesday I think I'd developed a balance and had already decided which of the workouts I did not enjoy (nearly all of them). My bum had begun to tone up however, as had my abs. I was also eating a lot more but still leaning up. Promising start!

But seriously, still feeling sick.

Week 3
This week was a good one. Second fit test of the workout, I had managed to improve on everything! Throughout, I could kind of push through the workouts, but not  quite complete them - such an improvement fitness-wise already. I established a routine - never before have i paid so much attention to the actual time I was eating dinner.

Week 4
Whoah, my body was not ready for this week. Knackered and aching. That feeling where it's tired into your bones - my muscles genuinely needed the rest before this one and were crying out for it on the distant Sunday. Every day it took a lot of mental strength to push through, and I'll be honest and say that they weren't the best quality either.

Week 5
Supposedly called the 'recovery week' it was just 6 days of the same workout. There were some really tough bits (spoilers) and some not so tough bits. I'm not sure how it made me feel, but definitely fitter! It was nice to mix things up, even if it hurt a little bit.

Week 6
I can't say much for this week only that it was a shock to the system. The new workouts were insane. They were a lot longer (a whole extra circuit) and the moves more complicated. I guess they're called 'max' for a reason.

Week 7
Hmmm. I hurt. Revision meant that my diet had taken a turn for the worse, but even so my abs were still nice and toned - as was pretty much else - just covered in a little layer of what I like to call 'flab'.

Week 8
This week was deadline week. I was quite stressed, but having an hour every day to workout and not worry was a slight relief. The workouts felt very long however and I spent a lot of time looking at the clock. I think that's mainly through fear of the impending essay due dates.

Week 9
I was at home this week, so eating and sleeping a lot better (and stress levels massively down). I went to the gym twice with my dad and the scores on the screen were a whole new level above what I normally did. Final fit test was on Sunday (Fathers day) and as you can  below I almost beat everything (almost!).

Overall, I think this workout is really well set. If you are someone who has done some exercise in the past and are not afraid of pushing yourself very hard - this will be right up your street. It didn't get boring, just required some time management to fit it in every day (plus the recovery shower and compulsory sit down). I'm looking forwards to doing it again, now that I know what to expect. This time my main goal was to improve fitness, but in the future I may explore the weight loss side of things - it shouldn't be too hard.

A word of warning, if you have not done regular exercise for a while, work your way up to this workout. In all seriousness, I'm not calling myself a super fitness buff but I have been a regular gym go-er and have a basic level of core strength. I couldn't quite believe it yesterday when I jumped on the treadmill and ran for the best part of an hour - a shocking improvement! I'm one of those people who is not made to run, so even ten minutes can be a slight challenge.

If you have the money, and are looking for a home workout that is never easy - do it. But don't buy into this if you're going to be half hearted.

Dig deep people.



/ day 18 / 30 day snap

Day 18 - Snail trail

I was walking through town when I saw these guys having a party. Sad not to be invited.


Monday, 17 June 2013

/ day 17 / 30 day snap

Day 17 - sneaky snap

I felt cheeky nabbing a shot of the postman's bike while he was down the road. It just looked really cute (I'm sure you'll disagree). 


/ beauty / review / Elemis skin clear mattifying moisturiser


Did anyone else jump at the chance to get their free moisturiser with the March issue of Cosmopolitan? I almost bought two! It's taken a while to get round to trying it out, I seem to have an abundance of half empty beauty products at the moment!

Personally (now I know this will sound awful for some of you) I find it hard to differentiate between the majority of facial moisturisers. This is not through want of trying - I just put it on my face after toner, most of the time I'll think 'that's refreshing', before slapping on my foundation. It's not exactly riveting!There are a few which stand out - or at least enough so that I remember their brand and hopefully pick a similar one next time. 

The claims (as provided by they, themselves)
To control the shine of oily skin
Reduce T-zone finish and maintain a matte finish for up to 8 hours
Promote cell renewal, hydrate and protect all day long
Reduce redness, inflammation and minimise blemish imperfections

The reality (as provided by yours truly)
Lets get down to it. The moisturiser is specifically formulated for oily and blemish prone skin, of which I have neither. However, I still prefer my moisturiser to not leave my face looking shiny nor amplify the dreaded T zone when it flares up, and I believe that Elemis accomplished this. Coupled with wearing a reduced amount of make-up, I my skin has definitely cleared up in the short period I have been using the product.

The smell is citrusy, but with undertones of something medicinal. I weirdly like it - but some people would definitely not, depends how much you care on its fragrance. 

Available from most large retailers for £20, it is far from cheap, but if you need this kind of specialist love and care for you skin, I'd recommend! I'm going to be trying out a few more brands - but will be keeping this on my wish list!



Sunday, 16 June 2013

/ day 16 / 30 day snap

Day 16 - it's that time again

Pims o'clock. We sat outside and worked our way through a pitcher of the stuff - love it. 


/ food / lemon shortbread

Shortbread is technically my sisters forte, but I thought I would share with you a twist on the usual recipe. 

170g butter (room temperature)
60g icing sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
200g plain flour
1 Tbsp demerara sugar 
An oven heated to 170C
Greased pans, pick a shape - we used 10cm circular ones (twice!)

Now what?
Cream all the butter and icing sugar then add the lemon juice. Gradually add the flour and zest, keeping a creamy consistency. If it looks too dry add a splash of milk.

Divide the dough and add to the pans. Score the dough into however many pieces as you like (6-8 is good). 
Bake for around 20-25 minutes until golden and slightly firm.

You will then need to remove from the pan and cut fully through the biscuit. Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Enjoy! They go especially well with strawberries and a cuppa!



/ food / afternoon tea lust

If you are anything like me, there's nothing you like more than to spend the afternoon working your way through an afternoon tea spread. Seriously. Sandwiches, cakes, and scones are definitely the definition of good food.

Whilst flying (if you've read my old posts, you'll know it happens more often than not) I read an article about an afternoon tea hamper company The English Cream Tea Company, who pretty much provide the service I never knew I needed in my life...

Luxury hamper for four, £99 - I'd eat it all if I could

However, these hampers, or any such afternoon tea service does come with a painful price tag. Being a student, I cannot afford that, so am going to be setting myself a challenge - to produce a similar hamper to the one above, but at a far more reasonable price!

To do:
- Jam
- Scones (plain and fruit)
- Traditional sandwiches (cucumber and cream cheese, salmon and lemon, egg mayonnaise and cress, cheddar and onion relish
- Provide an assortment of cakes, meringues and biscuits
- Lemonade (will be researching this soon!)

Alongside these goodies,  I need to source clotted cream and an assortment of decorations.

Well then, I'd better get started!


Saturday, 15 June 2013

/ food / apple tarte tatin


Today was a bit of a cooking frenzy. I made breakfast for my boyfriend (who is still here), then lunch, before being instructed by my dad that he would quite like both toad in the hole and a tarte tatin for dessert. 

150g caster sugar
120g butter
Vanilla extract
10 golden delicious apples
500g puff pastry
An oven-proof circular pan
An oven, preheated to 180C/ 350F /Gas Mark 4

Now what?
Melt the butter and sugar together in the pan, along with the vanilla extract. Cook until it forms a light caramel (it's really hot so be careful). Althought most caramel cooking states never to stir it for fear of crystallisation, don't fret - this recipe saves itself! I should know, I often get impatient. Whilst the caramel is turning brown, peel, quarter and core all the apples.

The apple pieces need then to be arranged in the caramel in a regular pattern, try and keep it one apple deep. As you can see below I started off well... but that's where it all went a bit wrong.

Let the mixture of apple and caramel simmer for 12 minutes, before putting the pastry over the top.

This all goes in the oven for around 25 minutes, until the pastry is nice and crisp.


You'll find the tarte tatin gets a tad tricky. Nothing too complicated, just requires a little bit of skill and confidence.You need to remove it from the oven and allow it to cool. Then simply place a dish over the top and flip it over. Simple! (good luck!).

Enjoy the tart warm or chilled, especially with a good dollop of cream or icecream.

Seriously, I recommend this bad boy,


/ day 15 / 30 day snap

Day 15 - pitter patter 

It rained today - coupled with thunder and lightening. We sat with the doors open drinking coffee and listening to the gentle rhythm of the rain hitting both the roof and our decking. I love that smell - petrichor - and just how fresh everything seems.

Summer is good all around.



Friday, 14 June 2013

/ day 14 / 30 day snap

Day 14 - sugar sweet

My dad came home with a big surprise today and I claimed them all as my own. I've been sitting working my way through the entire punnet. 


Thursday, 13 June 2013

/ day 13 / 30 day snap

Day 13 - blue skies

We walked into town today to grab some essentials (chocolate, milk and fathers day cards) before meandering home. Delightful weather.


/ food / Freddo


We were walking back from town today and I just had to have a Freddo. It was non negotiable. 

But only when in the shop did I remember that there was also the caramel variety, so that had to be bought too. Of course.

They bring out the child within me, and I would go as far to say they are currently my favourite sweet treat.

I bet you have a secret pleasure ;).


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

/ day 12 / 30 day snap

Day 12 - cooking for men

Yesterday both  my dad and boyfriend were hounding the kitchen demanding their dinner. On the menu was a pasta bake - a family favourite - with as many vegetables hidden in it as possible. They demolished the above quantity and more in much less time than it had taken to prepare...

I'll be uploading the recipe in due course... just got to eat the leftovers first ;).



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

| day 11 | 30 day snap

Day 11 - the modern man

My dad's old nokia finally died yesterday and he was overwhelmed with the choices on offer. The boyfriend and I decided to offer up our own phones for comparison (they were the leading two) and they received a rigorous yet unorthodox screening process,

Apparently the Samsung is the 'trendier' but less functional phone. Well there you have it.

Monday, 10 June 2013

|30 day snap | day 10

Day 10 - I only want to tease you

What more could you want - a bowl of (eaten) maltesers and Game of Thrones?

| food | how I take my tea

Right, I am going to set the story straight. I like my tea, but not just any old which-way.

There needs to be a good balance between sweetness, strength and milk. Depending on my mood I'll either use sweetener or real sugar, but you still need to follow the basic rules.

Firstly, choose a good tea bag. Yorkshire tea, or another strong blend, but a decent english breakfast. Don't muck about people.

Secondly, only add the tea bag to the mug (which by the way, can't be too small). Do not add the milk. Why boil the kettle if you're going to cool the water with the milk? Please don't.

Add the sugar/ sweetener and then the water - stir thoroughly. Allow to steep, let it develop. You wouldn't expect a great work of art to happen spontaneously? These things take time.

Whilst stirring, add the milk. If you leave the teabag in you can rectify any potential mistakes. See the picture above for how I take mine. It's the only way. Remove teabag and serve. Voila!

Tea connoisseurs may not like my method. But I do. 
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