Thursday, 16 December 2010

present perfection and smoked reindeer

yesterday i may or may not have gone Christmas shopping and i may or may not have eaten one chunk of extra pistachio turkish delight, 3 huge milk chocolate brazil nuts (my favorite), 1 cheese straw and a bite of my brother's cream filled, cherry topped, raisin filled belgian bun.

ok, ok, i did.

and it was so good! we managed to get a few Christmas presents as well as eating our way around town. we also went to visit a friend of mine who is a jewellery designer in the town where we live. she is incredibly talented, and i so wish i hadn't already decided on a present for my mother, as her silver leaf and acorn pendant is absolutely beautiful (ok, maybe secretly i want it!). i actually saw her work desk, and she was making a commisioned piece for someone for a gift. she told me how her eyesight was getting progressively worse with creating such detailed pieces, and she's only 25!

we've ordered all our Christmas food now too. most of it is coming next week in an Ocado delivery van, apart from the meat (we're having lamb) which we have already purchased from our local farm shop. we have been redecorating too, our entire living room has been getting recarpeted, repainted and a new fireplace put in. it's a lot of work, but the family don't usually come to ours, so we want to make it special!

now onto my latest eats:

blueberry and banana buckwheat waffles (try saying that quickly!)

tortelloni with bacon and avocado sprout salad

haggis with potato wedges, sweet potato and spring greens with onion. i love haggis!

i've been sorting out creating this year's Christmas presents, as well as making pomanders with the family and eating tortelloni galore!

wholewheat pasta, boiled egg and sweetcorn lunchbox salad. 

wonderful pistachios - that bowlful was eaten in almost under 2 minutes by me and my mother. the salt and pepper flavour is delicious! they are just the right level of crispness, all easily openable and the flavour is just subtle enough to let the pistachios shine through.

we went to our local Ikea, and bought a few things in the food shop. this time we got knackebrod and smoked reindeer. that may sound really gross and weird, but it's seriously really good! we also got sild, kalles kaviar, kanelbulle, and crispbreads. we are fully stocked for the Christmas season now!

currently listening to: let it snow! by dean martin

PS. on a total sidenote that's a little off topic: i am so sad that the last season of Merlin ended, but I am super duper excited for the new season (apparently 2012), because of the beauty of the new cast - Gwaine, Lancelot and Percival - mm hmm. is it just me that appreciates rugged manly stubble a la Robin Hood or Aragorn?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

homemade mince pies and secret santa

i recently took part in laura's secret santa and received my gift at the end of last week. it was absolutely brilliant! thank you to kate at embrace nutrition for such wonderful goodies, i feel totally spoiled!

i received some nairn's oatcakes (which were immediately opened and spread with butter!), a 9 bar, cashews, green tea with peppermint (absolutely divine) and my favourite - vita coco, in two different flavours!

another lunchbox photo! i really have enjoyed eating so much good veg and greens in the middle of the day. it makes my day brighter, and gives me so much energy! and bizarrely i don't ever feel hungry, as i thought i would. i suppose all the mince pie eating and copious amounts of food at various Christmas parties are keeping me full most of the time anyway!

although the snow has now melted, i adore this picture i took last week of my brother and little Bruno the puppy. they both enjoyed playing in the snow, and Bruno especially liked getting his face covered in it and making pawprints in the clean white crispness.

 ♥ white chocolate and cranberry cookies went into my secret santa box. we love these at Christmas in our house, they disappear very quickly though! there are so many different recipes on the web, i'm never sure where to start - when i find the ultimate recipe i will let you all know though! the key is to make sure there is a LOT of choc chunks and cranberries!

i have now officially made three batches of my healthy mince pie recipe! i edited the mincemeat recipe though, as i didn't have half the dried fruit and nuts, i used only brazilnuts and few almonds, raisins and sultanas, linseeds and sesame seeds, and added extra whisky, honey, a bit of brown sugar and one more apple. i think as long as you use lots of spice then it can't go wrong! i used the Jamie recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry - which is just perfect. with some pearl sugar on top, these are absolutely divine, melt in the mouth, not-too-sweet pastries that get gobbled quickly by everyone!

and if anyone has never understood mincemeat or mince pies, just try these and you won't be disappointed, seriously! usual shop-bought ones are far too sweet for my liking, and obliterate the tastebuds, but homemade you can keep your hand on flavours you like and adjust them to suit how sweet you want them. plus it's not too expensive to make your own, and they freeze really well too which is a bonus!

have i gone on about these enough? perhaps. but i just wanted to convey to all those who don't like mince pies that homemade taste totally different and far better, and you shouldn't dismiss them until you've made a batch :) they are a much misunderstood thing.

currently listening to: all my bells are ringing by lenka

Monday, 13 December 2010

healthy lunchboxes and pumpkin pie

sorry for the short lapse in posting - i have been swamped with work, and Christmas prep and house decorating! no excuse I know, but such is life. so this is a short post just before i head out to work again....

my most recent eats:

asparagus salad lunchbox - i love throwing everything in my little box and mixing it with mayo, dill, olive oil and apple cider vinegar! it always seems to come out tasting great :)

more porridge - this time with some homemade (by me, of course!) marrow and ginger jam, which is really very delicious!

pumpkin pie - this was absolutely wonderful! we shared it with some of our neighbours for thanksgiving, and it went down very well. i love pumpkin pie (and squash pie, and sweet potato pie!). and this is the easiest recipe and most tasty to follow.

another lunchbox, with another favorite combo - bacon and boiled egg (which i have a new found appreciaton for) with spinach, mushroom, sweetcorn, tomato, celery and raisins.

i've just finished reading fairytale of new york - what a brilliant book! i read it pretty quickly actually, it's a bit of a holiday book, but perfect for winter i think :)

currently listening to: winter song by sara bareilles and ingrid michaelson from the hotel cafe winter album

Friday, 10 December 2010

apple cider vinegar for acne and skin problems

apple cider vinegar is a relatively new thing to me. i found out about it on the blogosphere and bought my first bottle a few months back - i'm sure it was in some sort of haul video this last summer. but anyway, i first purchased it with a mind to use it on my hair, as i'd heard that this helps strip product build up and make your hair shinier. but after several repeat attempts, i still have not managed to make ACV work for my hair. i think my shampoo is just TOO good! ha ha.

so, i have been experimenting with using it on my skin. with really great results actually! which is why i thought it only fair to pass my information on to you guys ♥

firstly, if you want like 400+ positive reviews on it, check out the MUA boards, which completely rave about this for all sorts of things. and the boards for their shining reviews on using this for clearing your skin.

my own personal experience with this has been somewhat interesting. i started by using it as a direct spot treatment - which did not really work for me. i was literally putting some ACV on a cotton pad and pressing onto the infected area. i think this just aggravated it more than anything. so, i switched it up.

i mixed together in an old Neal's Yard blue glass spray bottle half of apple cider vinegar and half of rose water with a few extra drops of rosemary or lavender oil. i created my own anti-acne toner basically. which was so easy, and a really cheap thing to make too (added bonus!)

i spray my face with it once i've put my makeup on in the morning to set my makeup (sort of) and then once in the evening after cleansing. sometimes if i've gone out for an event and have lots of makeup on, i'll use this as a final cleanser/toner to make sure all the product is off and my face is really clean - i just spray a little onto a cotton wool pad and gently run it across my face. i make sure to shake it each time i use it too, just so that the product is evenly mixed.

i've finished almost two wholes bottles of this toner now, and i love it! the lavender and rose water calm down the strong scent of the apple cider vinegar, and it's less pungent. it's not too strong or direct an application to irritate my skin, though it is enough to help tighten my pores and even out my skin tone.

along with other things (which I'll talk about soon, i promise) this is really helping to clear up my acne around my mouth and jawline. thank goodness!

i've also been using it as a dressing on salads, which is yummy, and i'm sure helps the skin from the inside too.

fashion is subjective.

first a definition of the word 'subjective':
belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered

the thing about fashion is that - it is what YOU make it. you can't and should not criticise other people, because their fashion is their own, and therefore when you criticise their fashion choices, you criticise them too. fashion is incredibly personally, after all it is an extension of yourself.

the point of the wonderful online fashion world, is that there are many different people expressing many different views, and it is our job to read and enjoy them, and take little bits of inspiration from everywhere to create our own look.

with that in mind, i have created a couple of videos about my favorite blogs out there, and thought you all ought to know! the first was created summer 2009, and the second was autumn 2010...i hope to keep creating this sort of video, to let everyone know about the wonderful inspiring blogs out there ♥

and i've probably mentioned this before, but there's a wonderful Q+A section on Fashion Questions with interviews from some awesome fashion bloggers - a great place to find new people to watch...

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

white snow and pastel cupcakes

last weekend i spent with my wonderful grandparents, eating creamed parsnip and vanilla sponge. it was a spectacular drive on the way as it started snowing and it was settling thicker and thicker - so completely magical! the few inches we had meant that we stayed inside most of the weekend knitting and watching great old movies like the millionairess

the view from my bedroom was quite spectacular when i woke up on Saturday morning ♥

 my latest eats are humble but delicious:

pouring yogurt with banana, oats, sultanas and linseeds. a tasty dessert shared with my mother one evening.

boiled egg with dipping soldiers and baked beans are so much fun. it's like being a kid again. although my adult self sensibly put a side salad with it to balance it out...

we've been eating a lot of salad lately, with lots of protein and fresh greens. spicy chicken, boiled egg, spinach, kale, cucumber, tomato and peppers. with my favorite ryvita crispbread and a layer of houmous.

sometimes  our lunches are weird. a sort of strange combination of things put together from fridge leftovers - a bit of tortelloni, a fried sardine, some houmous, some dill mayo, some veg and greens. it all feels a little railway children, doesn't it?

my friend's birthday happened last week, and she came over for a little lunch - our last weekly lunch as we are both starting new jobs! so i made her some pretty cupcakes, using all the icing and sprinkles and edible glitter i could find...

i hope you are all enjoying the first day of december, and that you opened a door on your advent calendar!

currently listening to: white christmas by bing crosby

ps. i so so want to make these apple latkes from smitten kitchen, they look tres yummy!