Wednesday, 30 September 2009

i'm stuck

I've been stuck these past few weeks without a working camera. How much does that suck? So, instead of taking lots of beautiful photographs of the things I bought on my trip round the world, you will just have to wait patiently whilst I talk about what I am currently doing with my life...

So, now is definitely a good time to tell you all how much I appreciate you reading this, and for following me too. It makes me so happy!

Some of you will have some sort of an idea who I am and what I do, but I reckon most of you probably don't really have much of a clue. So, let me fill you in.

I graduated university a year ago now, with a degree in Drama Studies. After finishing I went and got some experience teaching in schools, where I realised that I hated yelling at kids. Not so good for an aspiring teacher. Ok, so rethink. How about some one-on-one maths tuition, yep, tick, I can do that, start up a new business! So, I've been tutoring maths for the past year now, and I love it. It's so much easier telling off one child at a time.

Then I thought how awesome it would be to become a beauty therapist. So, I've been taking a class for the past 9months, and am learning about all things to do with beauty, skincare....I've got a few more courses to go, before I can get my certificate.

Since I've come back from round the world, I find myself hopelessly short on cash, which is sad, but true. So, I've put beauty course on suspend until I can afford to continue, how depressing is that. Anyway, in the mean time, I'm taking on a few more students and building some websites, to keep me busy during the day. Check out and let me know what you think! Some lovely bloggers have been kind enough to answer questions for the site, which are really interesting :)

I'm keeping busy at home, trying out new things, and setting goals for the future. Working from home does take it's toll on you though. It's incredibly difficult to keep motivated. It's like writing an essay or doing a paper in your bedroom vs at many things to distract me, and my phone never stops ringing. I don't have my own office, so I sit at the dining table trying so hard to write something and just generally work, but it's not always so easy.

Hopefully I'll have a working camera soon, so you guys can see all the amazing things I bought round the world. Plus, I'm working on some sewing projects which I'm eager to share with you guys (has anyone else ever tried to recreate an urban outfitters skirt?)

Keep reading...xoxo

Monday, 28 September 2009

hawaiian food delights

hawaii was pretty good food-wise. it had a couple of delights, and was my first real intro into "american" food.

my first thing to say about america, is that however much you try to justify it, mcdonalds still isn't real food, or good for you...i tried, i did try.

the next thing to say would be that pineapples are a very hawaiian thing, and you can go and learn about them on the dole plantation. you can even send a pineapple home, or eat the famous pineapple icecream.

i was so surprised by the number of varieties of pineapple, we just seem to get one in England.

as some of you know, i am diabetic, so I'm always on the lookout for good snacks, and there was one snack throughout the entire trip that really stood out for me...the probar. yum. i know it's the most expensive snack you can buy, but it is totally worth it, especially this one, the koka moka!

then on to fumi's on the north shore for a take away shrimp experience. and oh my word, the butter and garlic shrimp is absolutely delicious. it's just this place by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere (well, sort of) and they grow and cook all the shrimp all day every day for hungry customers. so good.

ok, so the really bad part of the hawaiian experience was the breakfast food in our hotel. it advertised a continental breakfast, and this is what we got...

how scary is the blue bread? oh my word. if you happen to be staying at the Equus hotel in Honolulu, don't expect anything more than some sugary muffins or blue rolls, and a couple of pieces of melon or pineapple, and some dodgy sugary drink. a far cry from anything i would actually call healthy food, or just 'food' for that matter!

in true style we went to the australian steakhouse to eat one night, and i had the wedge salad, and the clam chowder. both of which are not something you get in the uk very often.

what can i say about these things? clam chowder is pretty good, for sure. but i would love to have had the opportunity to try it in a proper restaurant in san fran. and the wedge salad is a pretty sad excuse for a salad, and has not got a lot of veg. i felt horrendous paying the amount i had to pay for this lot of food.

anyway, next time i head to hawaii, i will go to the north shores for sure, and eat out in actual hawaiian places. i need another foodie with me blatantly to really enjoy the experience :)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Contest Time

Hi everyone! I'm having a contest on my Youtube channel, with some amazing prizes to give away to the winners...check out the video that details more about how to enter, and give it a go! you might just win some special beauty and makeup prizes :)

Monday, 21 September 2009

fall09 reflections of the past

as has everyone else, i've lately been checking out the spring summer 2010 runways. who isn't?

but instead of getting me all excited for the future, which it has don't get me wrong, i've been thinking back to the fall collections for inspiration for the cold months ahead (there's at least 8 of them!)

i also think its strange how when i go back over all the photos that i saved from previous seasons, i don't love everything i loved 6 months ago. i know that makes sense, because personal style is always evolving, but its definitely interesting. some of the looks i saved now seem really boring because everyone has been wearing them for the last few months, and others seem stupid because no-one is.

i went through all the photos of all the runways and saved my favorites to show you guys. i actually printed them out on photo paper and stuck them to my wall for inspiration.

i am definitely going to have to buy some knee high socks and start wearing them, before that becomes a big high street trend, and everyone is wearing them...and i can't decide about the whole fur debate (not faux vs real; it would always be faux for me). i'm not sure that anyone should wear it? and if they do how it doesn't look tacky. help me out on this one...

anyways, moving on. these aquascutum ensembles are so gorgeous i can't even say.

the dsquared2 collection made me want to yell YEESS! It was so spot on. And 100% wearable. I want the twins to dress me always.

marc by marc jacobs was so heritage. the prints were divinely vintage inspired. the hats were cute. i want to live in outfits like these this winter.

others worth mentioning:
- anna sui was every bit the rock and roll legend as always, though this time with feathery beanies
- michael kors neutral dress with tan accessories. the neckline was divine.
- nanette lepore - this designer does not get enough respect. perfect colors, perfect lines.
- rodarte - AMAZING. its actually wearable art.
thanks to for all the photos and perfect inspirational browsing...

Saturday, 19 September 2009

how many times can i dye my hair

so when i went away round the world i dyed my hair three times, twice permanently and once semi-permanent. i wish wish wish i had only used semi permanent, so i wouldn't be left with any horrendous tidelines when it starts to regrow.

anyway, i thought it was worth telling you all how great the natural instincts semi-permanent range is...i love it! this was the second one i used, and it was such a gorgeous product to use, without a truly horrendous scent. the conditioner you get with it is just delicious, i wish you could buy just that actually because it would be the best deep conditioner ever!

anyway, i'm glad my hair isn't wrecked from all the product that's been put in it. i was so afraid it would all fall out or something...but it hasn't :)
i'm currently a chocolate brown kind of colour, but it's still washing out in the shower, unless that's the semi-permanent that's underneath? who knows, but the more that washes out, the less scary the roots will be when they come through! i have no idea what i'm gonna do when they do start showing...maybe do a semi-permanent root touch-up, or maybe go and get professionally colored back to my original color? not so sure.

what do you think?

this is my natural colour:

and this is the colour it is now:

counting carbohydrates

i was recently asked how i count carbohydrates and how i estimate insulin boluses, etc. so this is my post in response to that.

i have been counting carbs ever since i became a diabetic, and i got stricter with myself when i went on to an insulin pump.

when i had my first few appointments at the doctors, they gave me all sorts of books with estimations in, and taught me a bit about different kinds of carbohydrates. But most of what I know has been self taught!

so i'll tell you what it's like for me, and this will hopefully be relevant in some way to those of you that read this. of course it will vary from person to person, perhaps you are on insulin injections, or you are a type 2 diabetic wanting to control your diet better, or perhaps you're a concerned relative who doesn't know what to feed their diabetic family member (i know there's loads of you out there!)

when i go to choose something to eat, i almost always choose it depending on the amount of carbohydrates, and the amount i want to eat will depend on:
- how hungry i am
- what i feel like eating
- what my sugar levels have been like that day
- what me levels have been like in the past few weeks
- what my level is at that moment
- what food is available to eat

there's a lot of trial and error involved in counting carbs, and the best way of being super accurate is to buy something from a shop that tells you exactly how much is in it on the label. make sure you read the correct figure, as quite often there's a per 100g and a per portion measurement.

my carb-insulin ratio is 10:1 which makes it easy to work out how much to bolus: i simple divide the amount of carbs by 10! it used to be 15, and then 12, which was much harder, much! your doctor or nurse should help you to come up with your ratio when you are first diagnosed.

ok, here's an example:

- in the mornings i usually eat about 60g carbs - either porridge, muesli (no added sugar) or wholewheat pancakes. i measured my porridge the first time i made it, and calculated how much was in there so i could eat the same-ish amount each morning. if i've had a bad level in the morning, my appetite will have decreased anyway, so i'll eat less so the other insulin can go to correcting out the sugars. if i've got a low level i'll drop the amount i bolus, so instead of 6 units, i'll give 5units.

here's some foods and their carbs (in the portion size i would eat):
- ben&jerry's - i used to eat this believe it or not, and would bolus a good 10units: more than 100g of sugar and the fat content is unbelievable too, so would have to bolus again when the fat turned into sugars and my level rocketed.
- chai latte in starbucks - another ridiculous thing is drinks out always contain a good 60g of carbs...especially fizzy drinks and sweetened hot drinks. another no go area.
- wholemeal bread - its usually about 10-15g a slice, depending on the size of the loaf
- vegetable soup - about 20g
- fruits - these can range anywhere from 5g to 30g depending on the fruit and how much you eat. an apple for example is about 5 and a few slices of tropical fruit could be 30g
- roast dinner - this is a pretty impossible meal, as the fat content is usually pretty high, i usually gues about 80g, but sometimes it's too low and sometimes too high, it depends on how many potatoes i eat, and who's cooked it!

so as you can tell, its a lot of guesswork, so if you're looking for something really easy to have, then buy a healthy premade meal like sandwiches or salad, that comes wrapped with the amount of carbs written on the back...then you'll get more of a feel for the amount of carbs that's in different things.

ps. if you are eating out at a popular restaurant, then ask the waiter for a nutrition guide. i did this once and the guy came back 5 minutes later with a hand written list of everything that was in the meal, and an apologetic look. this was still super helpful though, as different foods have different GI's and different kinds of carbohydrates.

if you are cooking for a relative with diabetes, then use far fewer carbohydrates, and cook low GI carbs (wholemeal varieties for example) if you have to. make most of the plate vegetables, and try not to cook too much fatty foods, and stop adding butter to the mix!

For dessert be more creative than a fruit salad, as diabetics get fed this all the time. My auntie once cooked a little dark chocolate cup, that was really delicious made me feel special, and only had about 15g of carbs because it was so small. I remember that to this day. Or check out my food blog at for ideas on healthy eating.

kitchen escapades

it's been a really foodie kind of week this week.

on wednesday me and my mum went to see Julie and Julia, a total must for anyone who has a food blog or enjoys things cooked in butter. it was really good, and i will have to get it on dvd. it was perfect as well because half is set in new york (perfect for me) and the other half is set in france (perfect for mum).

the food in it was pretty delicious looking, and there's lots of tasty closeups. the only thing that didn't quite gel in the movie was the chemistry between meryl streep and stanley tucci.

go watch it. or at least check out the trailer.

then on thursday i tried my hardest to make german spatzle with my spatzle press i've had for years. i first had spatzle when a german girl was staying with my family, and she cooked it for us. i thought it was like the most fun thing to make and delish to eat, so i asked if she could find and send me a press...which she did!

somehow i had never managed to get round to making it, and after having watched J&J I sort of felt spurred on...i suppose it's all that impossible looking duck boning and souffle making. so i got out the recipe and the press, and boiled the water.

for those of you that have never made it, or heard about it, it's basically just fresh egg noodles, but made quickly and a little inelegantly/rustic-ly. you mix 250g flour with 2 eggs and a smidge of water until it becomes a very wet dough that won't combine. then you boil water, and whilst its boiling, squeeze the dough through the press.

easier said than done. i got the dough made, which was simple, and managed to get it to the perfect consistency (check out this recipe with photos). then i put the press over the water, resting on the pan, and filled it with the dough.

of course, the steam cooked what was about to come out the holes, and so blocked it up, so i had to take it out, rinse it out, fill the press with the dough again (this time over a plate!) and squeeze it over the boiling water. so tricky because the handles are quite long, and the plates aren't totally perfect, so it doesn't come out totally perfect.

hey well, the final result, mixed with pesto or mushroom sauce (we tried both) was quite delicious but does look like a plate full of worms or something. hmm. maybe not one to try again?!

and then this morning i made this version of swiss bircher porridge. it's a cold porridge that is really healthy and delicious too. i've been thinking about it ever since i came back from my trip, because we ate it in south africa and australia (notable brisbane, where the waiter was super good looking). i tried so many google searches, and finally found this recipe which sounded about right. the only thing it didn't have was cinnamon, lots and lots of cinnamon.

and although this doesn't look totally amazing, the taste is phenomenal. astoundingly good. i'm going to make it again tomorrow.

so, anyway, i'm looking forward to next weeks food adventures already...hopefully there'll be some more photo-worthy meals!

Friday, 18 September 2009

being self sufficient

ok, so i know this is a little bit of a divert (actually a major one) from my current holiday 'what i ate where' posts. but i was reading the kitchen sink's latest post, and i was totally agreeing with what she said.

self sufficiency is a dream i've had for years now...and i was totally thinking again about it on holiday, i even drew up a budget, ground plans for my house and what i would do with my many acres... (click on image to enlarge)

i drew that up somewhere in fiji. it was hot, and this is my recreation, dreaming about what life COULD be like someday.

my dad has been both a dairy farmer and a pig farmer, so i grew up on farms with animals, and both my granddad's have vegetable patches so i'm not totally clueless when it comes to growing stuff.

there's just a couple of problems with actually being able to fulfill this dream:

- my ability to make stuff grow - i, like Kristin, can't seem to make anything grow or stay alive for more than a month or so.

- the lack of hands, i've only got two. my dream is big, and would totally need a couple of farm hands, a husband, and my mother and brothers living close.

- the total disappearance of any money towards it - like i said i drew up a budget, and the lowest amount of money i would require is about £2000 each month. i'm working towards it though! saving, saving, saving. keeping my eyes open for the perfect piece of land, and the perfect house. keeping pictures of every house i like, just in case i win the lottery and could afford to 'grand design' my own house.

what can i say, i'm a dreamer, and i won't ever stop being one.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

new york city, new york

as soon as we touched down in jfk i could feel my heart racing that little bit faster! then when i saw the lights of manhattan i swear my heart jumped out of my chest. i took a picture to commemorate the event, but this is what it came out like:

it's a cool picture nonetheless though right?

we arrived at our hotel (we stayed at Hotel Beacon, which was awesome and well priced) and couldn't believe the view out of our window. you can see central park in front, and downtown to the right.

we had really good weather for being touristy, not too hot and not too cold, and it only rained on our last day. how good was it that we were there for fashion week too? amazing right...?

we were only in new york for 2 days, so we thought it was better to get an overview of the city, so that when we came back we'd know where everything is, and really be able to get into the proper new york mode, and feel like a local. so we got tourist bus tickets and did the downtown loop the first day, and uptown the next. it was great to see all the districts, go to statue of liberty and up the empire state building.

we went out to starbucks every day, here i am drinking a chocolate and banana smoothie with a shot of green tea matcha.

and i got super excited when i saw movie trailers everywhere. our bus driver yelled at the crew top ask what they were filming at the plaza, and they yelled back 'sex and the city'. woohoo! we saw so many white lorries everywhere, its no wonder that new yorkers get used to celebrities.

we went in a little bit of the park. buti still need to sail a boat, lie on strawberry fields and skate in an ice rink. i just have to.

if you get the chance to go to new york, go to Gray's Papaya. some seriously good hotdogs are sold here. they're grilled here, rather than the boiled ones you get on the street, and a gray's will only cost you $1.50 each.

this is the entrance for fashion week in bryant park. paparazzi everywhere, plus glamour were giving away free cupcakes when we were there, so i ate a chocolate one. there's such a buzz.

so in conclusion, i think that new york is awesome. my favorite city in the world so far. for sure. it's just so good. it's not as busy and crowded as you might think. it doesn't smell bad. and yes it's noisy, but it's really quiet in central park. there are amazing views everywhere, healthy food, amazing shops EVERYWHERE and some genuinely nice people with cool accents (there seem to be too, one i really don't like that's really snooty and the other i love - the one that sounds like Joey from Friends)

i super can't wait to go back and actually SEE new york. i will have to go for at least a week, so I can feel like i've done stuff. i want to go to magnolia bakery, see a show on broadway, shop til i can't physically carry anything else, catch a yellow taxi (it's a crime i didn't do that this time I know), see the Met, Moma and Mets, read books in the Library, buy books in Barnes and Noble, then try on shoes in Bergdorf Goodman, and have my hair cut and colored somewhere super expensive, stay in the Waldorf Astoria and go to Dean & Deluca.

i miss you new york. can't wait to see you soon. xoxo

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

food in fiji

Fiji doesn't really have much of a foodie reputation, so I really didn't know what to expect. I was really happy to find that our little lodge...Bluewater Lodge in Newtown...had some really great chefs which cooked tasty, well presented, inexpensive dinners with massive portions!

my favorite dish that i had at the lodge was the lamb without doubt. it was juicy and delicious, and there was loads of it. not like meat portions in other countries where its tiny and probably been injected with something to make it juicier and fatter. unfortunately the picture does not do this justice, as it was twilight, and my camera isn't the best.

on one of our first days in fiji, we saw a traditional fijian way of cooking underground. the locals and some guys that work in our hotel had buried loads of food under the ground, allowing it to steam cook from the heat of the sun and temperature of the earth around it. they start by wrapping everything in tin foil or banana leaves, or both, then digging a hole, lining it with rocks, packing the food in, then layering it with banana leaves and covering it with earth.

they come back later at the end of the day to dig it up, and transport everything home in a wheelbarrow, and distribute to all the nearby families and hotels, etc. awesome! i remember my brothers trying to do that in england, and being totally disappointed when it didn't work at all...

at the nearby smugglers cove we went to eat a couple of times. there's not a very exciting menu, more american style burgers and fries. but i did try their avocado and prawn salad, which was YUM.

on our trip we met up with this guy staying at our lodge, who kindly took us around the island for a couple of days. an amazing, friendly guy with loads of interesting stories to tell. whats particularly unique about this dude is that he doesn't eat any fruits or vegetables, actually none, not even any at all.

the only thing he will have is fruit juice. plus he doesn't take any supplements or anything. he can actually live without fruit and veg...isn't that strange? i bet loads of kids would like to be able to have that ability! this next photo is entitled: "i'll have the steak and chips, but instead of the roasted vegetables can i have mashed potato?"

the last thing to say about fiji is that, if you want to have delicious fresh food, you need to go to a big supermarket, as the little shops only seem to sell pringles and biscuits; which i guess makes sense when it gets super hot in the summer. but if you are on a resort, then you should be better than ok because you'll get the best local fruit and veg ever, all freshly made and served, woohoo!

bathroom shelves

i stumbled across these awesome pictures from the selby, as i found them totally fascinating... this is what julia rr has in her bathroom cabinet.

if you've never checked out the selby, go ahead and take a peek now. it's amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

san francisco!

san francisco is a really cool city. it's very chilled and a great place to go out for a meal - they have a ridiculous amount of good restaurants and cafes, as well as Bristol Farms, but lets go into that later.

on our first day in SF we went on a tour of the city with Gray Line, which was not that great, but it did mean we actually got to drive through most of the districts...including Haight Ashbury, Castro, Chinatown, SoMa...and of course the Golden Gate Bridge.

on mission and dolores. totally one of the coolest streets in the whole of SF. if i had to choose somewhere to live it would be here.

going up the twin peaks, for a view of the clouds.

now i honestly thought that these were only in movies, and only super cool schools had them, but...i was so happy to see them EVERYWHERE!

i think you all know what this is...

the trams in SF are cool, although the actual tram lines have a ridiculous long queue...why wait 3 hours to get on? its cool to see the dudes turning the cars though, and there's always something going on in the square by where they turn (near the massive shopping centre on Market street)

So, in conclusion, I loved SF. I wish we'd had more money to do more stuff there would have been awesome to go to the Napa valley and to take a long drive in a VW campervan down to LA (now i'm just getting carried away). But seriously I would love to go back there and see more of California, and go to the places with awesome names like Eureka and Sausalito. LOL.

Oh, and I would seriously hop on a plane just for Bristol Farms, where I had some amazing chilli and sourdough. Which happens to be located in one of the (if not THE) biggest shopping centre in the US.

Bring on the big apple!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

aloha hawaii

Hawaii was a pretty cool place to be, it's very hot and it's very holiday so many hotels and chain restaurants. I must admit that it was a big shock coming into Honolulu from Fiji, as the two are parallel opposites in terms of what kind of holiday you can have.

Honolulu is very commercial and mostly full of ugly concrete 90s buildings, not many redeeming features. But, there are some definite plus points: the Ala Moana shopping centre, all the top brands you could want to shop at ever (honestly, from Forever 21 to Chanel it has everything!), and fireworks and entertaining on Waikiki Beach.

Go to the north of Oahu however and you will find some really pretty (and not fake) beaches with great surf and a chilled atmosphere. I could totally holiday there. Especially as it's near Fumi's, the amazingly tasty shrimp farm...get the butter and garlic shrimp for $12, its the best takeaway shrimp ever I promise.

Then the East coast is a total movie area...think Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates. There's beaches everywhere and they are so proud of all the locations that films have been shot. Go to the Macadamia Nut Farm and gardens and taste some of the delish macadamia nut coffee, as well as the cinnamon roasted nuts. Mmmmm. And try some noni lotion if you haven't yet...

I was well looking forward to New York at this point, and checking out mainland USA...bring it on!

Monday, 14 September 2009

fiji fiji fiji

i was so sad to leave australia, but it had to be done...fiji was calling!

i had an amazing time in fiji! it is such a beautiful place, with really lovely, friendly people :) we did so many cool things, and saw some gorgeous sunsets...really really stunning.

actually the evening that we landed we saw this gorgeous sunset on the beach in newtown:

we went to a little island called south sea can walk around it in 5 minutes. i snorkelled off the beach over the reef and saw some spectacularly colorful fish. and we had a barbeque lunch and relaxed in the sunshine.

we went down to the coral coast and went horseback riding on the beach. it was amazing because the beach was almost totally empty...really tranquil and calm.

we were told to go to the local mud pool, and so we was difficult to find, but worth the effort. the sabeto hot springs are beautiful! i covered myself in mud and then washed off properly in the spring outlets. how relaxing :)

if you ever get the chance to go to fiji, don't say no!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

On Board Airplane Diabetic Meals

Hi everyone!

I'm back from my long trip around the globe!

It has been an amazing adventure...I've done loads of amazing things and seen some beautiful sights. There are two things that have super struck me along this trip; the first is architecture, and the second is food. Of course the first can't really apply to diabetes, accept that the more beautiful architecture I walk around and up the better control I have of my sugar levels.

But food. That I can talk about! I found it pretty easy to find healthy things to eat...especially in New York and Sydney. The bigger the city, the greater the choice it seems. I ate kangaroo, tried pretzels, had a Gray's Papaya frank. Mmmm.

But one of the most interesting parts of the food journey has been the on board diabetic meals. I real surprise every time that's for sure!

The best plane food was flying from New York to London Heathrow with British Airways, the final meal of all. I had a herb chicken with cauliflower mash, with a side salad and roll, followed by heaps of summer berries and some dried cherries. Yummy!

The strangest diabetic meals I had were on Qantas. For breakfast on the way to Sydney they gave me chicken, spinach and boiled potatoes. That was so wrong. So wrong. I don't know anyone who has the stomach for boiled potatoes and spinach in the morning. Oh my.

Qantas also gave me white (high GI) rolls, rice and pasta. Strange. Sometimes I felt like I was being given the wrong the vegetarian option (once I got tofu) and other times I thought it was just low fat.

BA were the only ones to actually get it right, to pin the nail on the donkey. Everyone else was far off. Someone should totally have a word with the catering companies to let them know how inappropriate some of the food was. Diabetic food does not have to be boring or uninteresting, it does not have to be boiled and unflavored. Hmm.

There was a definite plus to the whole diabetic meal drama: I was always served before everyone else, which was nice, no matter who the carrier.