Monday, 11 July 2016

Maple Chocolate Rice Pudding | Naughty But Rice


This weekend, Naughty But Rice* invited me to try out some of their handy pots of rice pudding in the delicious flavours of creamy Salted Caramel, refreshing Coconut & Raspberry and tangy Chocolate Orange. I'd never tried these before, but after a few scoops I knew that these little pots would soon become a lunchbox regular.

I prefer to heat mine up in the microwave, which only takes a minute (literally); however, you can enjoy these cold if you prefer - perfect for coolbox picnics!

The brand also challenged me to create my own rice pudding flavour. 


Challenge accepted.

I have a huge sweet-tooth, so I wanted to create something that would provide the ultimate sweet-tooth-satisfaction. I combined maple syrup, plain chocolate, cinnamon and just a hint of nutmeg to produce a flavour that would take me back to my childhood when my mum had a huge pot of rice pudding slow-cooking on the stove for a good two hours, making me salivate until I could finally tuck in after dinner.

I used whole chunks of chocolate in this dessert, to give that nice, rich, surprise burst of flavour when you pop a spoonful into your mouth. Here's my recipe:

Ingredients


- 100g pudding rice
- 50g sugar
- 700ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 75g plain chocolate

Method


1. Preheat the over to 150C/fan 130C/gas mark 2.

2. Wash the rice and drain.

3. Butter an 850ml baking dish. Tip in the rice and sugar and stir in the milk, maple syrup, nutmeg and cinnamon.

4. Place chunks of the plain chocolate randomly throughout the dish.

5. Cook for 2 hours or until the pudding wobbles ever so slightly when shaken.

*Products gifted for review
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Thursday, 9 June 2016

2 Puddings That'll Make You Look Like a Dessert Hero


   I'm no dessert hero, but I know who is: Mary Berry. The Queen of Puddings herself. Everybody's favourite TV cooking personality and the woman whose fabulousness and culinary prowess I aspire to attain by the time I'm 81.

  It's coming to that time of year again when the scent of freshly cut grass is the first thing you notice when you step out the door, you've probably planned an afternoon with the family picking strawberries at the weekend, and the Great British Bake Off is just around the corner. Yep, these are some of my absolute favourite things about summer - not to mention endless Pimms and Wimbledon nonstop on the tele - and it makes me want to dust off my copy of Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites and bake my way through June, July and August, slowly fattening myself up for the winter ahead.

   But wait, I'm not actually that great at baking... I mean, I successfully made macarons that one time, and a questionable batch of golf-themed cupcakes for my boyfriend's 21st, but I'm definitely not a dessert hero. Plus, I'm way too busy at the moment, running a blog, my own business and working as a journalist alongside it all to even think about turning on the oven to make something tasty and pretty.

   Searching around the shops for something decent to pass off as my own creation, I come across Mary Berry's sharing desserts - one, a rich Belgian Chocolate Brownie Pudding*, looks like it would be perfect for a date night in, whilst the other, a Luxury Summer Fruit Pudding* appears ideal for a post-Sunday lunch sweet treat. Perfect!


   With easy-to-read instructions and even a little pot of sauce for pouring, I popped the Brownie Pudding in the microwave until it was piping hot and served it up with some strawberries and rosé (of course) to eat with dear boyfriend. We demolished the whole thing, even though it could have fed five people. Gooey, rich and, above all, chocolately, this is the ideal pudding for any chocoholic. It's great for, as I said, date nights, but it's also perfect for a dessert after a family dinner with a dollop of ice cream each, or to share with friends and a good movie. I would happily repurchase.


  The Luxury Summer Fruit Pudding was even easier to prepare; simply remove the packaging and tip upside down onto a plate, et voila! The strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants create the most perfect medley of summer berries, while the summer syrup and soft white bread layers make this into a delicious treat for you and your family and friends: a tasty and tangy bite of summer to enjoy on an afternoon in the garden, wide-brimmed hat tipped back and sunglasses on, feeling a little bit like Audrey Hepburn whilst perching on a bistro seat. Ahh, summer, you do bring happiness to us all.

*

    Now, I couldn't complete this post without a little word from Mary Berry herself, now could I? Here's what the Queen of Puddings has to say about her delicious new line, available from Tesco, Ocado and Waitrose at just £3.50 each:

1. What inspired you to create the new range of traditional puddings to share?

British Classic puddings are great for family occasions and I want to share my favourites.

2. Why do you think classic pudding recipes will always be popular?

These are the puddings that people love and remember.

3. Was there a reason that you chose to launch with the Belgian Chocolate Brownie Pudding and Luxury Summer Fruit Pudding?

I love brownies and this was a perfect excuse to make it into a pudding.  Summer is my absolute favourite and there is no reason not to have it all year round.

4. Have you always had a sweet tooth?

It's not about having a sweet tooth, I love to end a meal with something on the sweet side and these puddings are very tempting !

5. You mention that your mother was an inspiration for the new products, what was her favourite dessert and were you inspired to bake because of her?

Mum loved Bread and Butter Pudding and hers was the best.

6. How does creating a ready made dessert recipe differ from creating a recipe for a book? 

They are all very similar but I make sure that only the best ingredients are used.

7. You’ve had a very busy start to 2016, are you looking forward to what’s coming up? 

I certainly am - more Great British Bake Off, my own programme, another book, life is good!

8. Do you manage to enjoy leisurely meals with your family? 

Yes definitely, the more often, the better.

* Gifted for review
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Review: BodyLab TastyShake Total Protein Complex

BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

   Let's get one thing straight: if I can look anywhere near as stunning as Jennifer Lopez looks when I reach her age, I would be a very happy woman. Not because I'm vain or because I'm afraid of getting old, but because I'm pretty certain that she's an insanely happy and healthy human being.

   I'm by no means a fitness fanatic, and I truly believe that you don't need to be one to achieve a healthy body, but I do like to exercise regularly and eat well. I take a few vitamins and supplements here and there, and I've tried my fair share of protein powders, but I'm pretty impressed with J-Lo's new BodyLab range, consisting of Metabolise capsules, a 14 Day JumpStart Kit and the TastyShake Total Protein Complex in Vanilla and Raspberry Yoghurt.

   These are now available in the UK at Superdrug - and if you're quick, you can save a third on any product from the range. Also, while the deal lasts, if you spend over £15 on any diet and fitness products at Superdrug, you'll get a free shaker! (Note: I'm seriously not being paid to say this, I'm just helping you get a good deal!)


BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

   Today, I'm reviewing the TastyShake in Classic Vanilla*. This yummy, low-cal protein is designed especially for women, and contains 1g of saturated fat per 20g serving, 15g protein and 1.7g carbohydrate (plus a minimal amount of fibre, calcium and sodium). Each serving is 80 calories, so it's great for those of you who are watching your calorie intake.

   It has no added creatine, which as you might know is an osmotically active ingredient which makes your body retain water - so it's ideal for those of you aiming to lean up with a targeted exercise routine.

   The entire line is actually based on a blend of plant-based compounds. Does this mean it's organic? Well, no, it's not certified organic, but it does appear to contain some natural ingredients designed to burn fat, increase lean muscle, boost energy and support the metabolism.

   After trying this out pre-wourkout, I did feel as if I had more energy for my normal exercise routine, pushing myself slightly further with my reps. I also felt slightly less tired afterwards, which meant that I could get on with making myself a hearty, healthy dinner instead of lounging on the couch for half an hour watching TV.

   It smelled really good (as we all know, half the taste comes in the smell), and it was really nice to sip while I was cooling down. I don't like to gulp down my protein shakes like my boyfriend does, as it makes me feel really bloated afterwards.

   I would, personally, love to try the Raspberry Yoghurt flavour - so if any of you have tried this, please leave a comment below letting me know how you got on!

   If you don't like taking your TastyShake straight with water, you can mix it into shakes with other ingredients, or even healthy snacks. For this post, I created two different options for post workout protein that you can make in less than five minutes with ingredients that can be found in any healthy kitchen - enjoy!


BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

Protein Fruit Oatmeal

Ingredients:

100g oats
20g (one scoop) BodyLab TastyShake Total Protein Complex in Vanilla
180ml natural yoghurt
4 strawberries
Handful of blueberries
1 banana

Method:

1. Mix together the oats, protein powder and natural yoghurt in a bowl.

2. Slice the fruits (apart from the blueberries) and lay everything on top of the oatmeal.

3. Eat!

BodyLab Tasty Shake Total Protein Complex on Art Style Love

Banana Protein Shake

Ingredients:

20g (one scoop) BodyLab TastyShake Total Protein Complex in Vanilla
180ml water
1 banana

1. Slice the banana.

2. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend for around 30 seconds.

3. Drink!


* Gifted for review
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Sunday, 5 June 2016

7 Desk Buddies to Brighten Your Day

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style LoveAlphabet 'J' Mug, Ladybird Books - Vintage Collection by Designed in Colour, £10

   Put your hand up if you remember Ladybird books from your childhood! These nostalgic mugs are a perfect way to make you smile during the office tea round - plus, if you can get one with your initial, your colleagues are less likely to 'accidentally' use it for their own cuppa.
Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
Daisy Place Odds & Ends Dish by Kate Spade at Amara, £42

   I must have a stupid amount of coins, paperclips and rubber bands in my drawers and on my desk itself - now wouldn't it be nice if they were all in one place? This Kate Spade trinket dish is highly Instagrammable and makes for an ideal desk organiser.

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
(All from Paperchase)

   If you work from home or you're allowed to have candles on your desk at work, these fun animal and object-shaped candles from Paperchase will definitely brighten up your day (literally).

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
Urban Grow Star Terrarium Planter by Urban Outfitters, £21

   I love keeping plants on my desk, and a terrarium is the perfect place to keep them neat and tidy in the chaotic environment that is a desk space. This one from Urban Outfitters has a futuristic vibe and is great for growing succulents and cacti.

Fashionable Office Accessories by Art Style Love
Freshly Baked Cupcake USB Cup Warmer by I Want One of Those, £8.99

   Don't you just hate when you've made yourself a hot cuppa, but all of a sudden twenty emails arrive in your inbox and, half an hour later, that cuppa takes a trip to the microwave to get stewed and ends up being rather unsatisfying? Now, you can pop your mug onto one of these cup warmers, et voila! No more of the dreaded cold tea.

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Thursday, 2 June 2016

2 tasty lunchtime snacks for the girl on the go


   Nobody likes bland food, right? We all love a bit of flavour - me, particularly so. I adore a good slather of rich, salty butter here, some tangy American mustard there, and a drizzle of ranch dressing all over, but I like it even more when my favourite flavours come together to create an infusion that'll liven up any dish.

   Recently, my favourite condiment to pair with my lunchtime snacks has been Lurpak's new Infusions range*. These little boxes of goodness feature Lurpak butter combined with a variety of flavours: Chilli & Lime, a zingy number with an intense bite; Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn, a very savoury and subtly peppery flavour; and my favourite, Smoked Chipotle, a super smokey, meaty, creamy flavour (if I had to pick one thing to spread on my sandwiches for the rest of my life, this might just be it).

   Slather these onto some rye crispbread, toasted tiger bread or some wholemeal tortilla wraps along with your favourite toppings for a super tasty snack, or follow my two recipes below!


NOT YOUR AVERAGE CRISPBREADS

Ingredients:

Lurpak Infusions Chilli & Lime
Lurpak Infusions Smoked Chipotle 
Lurpak Infusions Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn
Smoked Salmon
Coriander
Salami (or your favourite cured meats)
Courgette
Rye Crispbread

Method:

1) Take three rye crispbreads (or however many you can eat) and spread a different Lurpak Infusions flavour on each one.

2) Place on your toppings to match each flavour: smoked salmon and coriander with Chilli & Lime; salami with Smoked Chipotle; and sliced courgette with Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn.

3) Enjoy!

***

GRILLED CHEESE, ARTICHOKE & SUNDRIED TOMATO PANINI WITH LURPAK SPREADABLE INFUSIONS SEA SALT & PINK PEPPERCORN


Ingredients:

1 freshly baked panini
20g Edam cheese, grated
15g Parmesan cheese, grated
3-4 Artichoke hearts (bottled in olive oil), drained
20g Sundried tomatoes
Sprig of fresh basil/flat leaf parsley
Lurpak® Spreadable Infusions Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn

Method:

1) Mix the grated Edam cheese with the Parmesan cheese. Quarter the drained artichoke
hearts and sundried tomatoes, mix with the cheese and a sprig of fresh basil or flat-leaf
parsley. 

2) Spread the panini generously with Lurpak Infusions Sea Salt & Pink Peppercorn, top with grated cheese, artichoke and fresh tomato mixture and bake at 180 degrees Celsius until golden.

* Gifted for review
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Monday, 30 May 2016

The Perfect Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin


   I've suffered from hereditary dry skin for all of my adult life which, I admit, can be annoying and a little embarrassing at times. I hate the fact that my makeup won't apply right in certain places, that my skin gets worse in winter and that my skincare routine is twice as long as any of my friends'.

   Luckily, a great product comes out once in a while that really helps me with my skin troubles - and this time, it's Yes To Carrot's Fragrance-Free Exfoliating Cleanser*. This normal-to-dry skin exfoliator is full of beta-carotene, which is great for combating free radicals, thus fighting against wrinkles and imperfections. Its gentle exfoliating beads buff away dry skin whilst cleansing at the same time, leaving your skin feeling clean, fresh and soft.

   I use this after I've taken off my makeup, and it wipes away any dirt that's left after my initial cleanse. I place a small blob onto a damp exfoliating glove and rub in small circles over my skin, before gently wiping away with a clean damp cloth (the product instructions state to rinse skin with warm water, but I find that a warm, damp cloth feels so much nicer!)

   I then follow this up with Yes To Carrot's Moisturising Eye Cream* and either the Daily Facial Moisturiser* or the Intense Hydration Night Cream* from the same range, depending on what time of day I'm cleansing.

   After just a couple of uses, I really felt a difference in the amount of dry skin on my face. Usually, my forehead's the worst area for this kind of skin problem, but I haven't spotted any pesky dry patches or flakes for the past week. My makeup applies smoothly and I find that I'm not anxiously checking my complexion in the mirror as much. With regular use, I'm hoping that my skin will clear up for good - only time will tell!

   For a more in-depth review and a quick demo, watch my YouTube video here.

*Products gifted for review
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Friday, 20 May 2016

Just Need Me a Beat and a Bass


HAT - H&M // SUNGLASSES - ZEROUV* // DRESS - MISSGUIDED // BAG - PRIMARK (similar here) // SHOES - PEACOCKS (similar here)
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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Vegetarian Week | Linda McCartney Foods


   I haven't mentioned this much over my blog and social media, but over the past few weeks I've adopted a 90% vegetarian diet which, as I'm sure you can guess, means that I'm consuming vegetarian food as 90% of my diet, while the other part is white meat. For me, this is a huge step towards becoming a full vegetarian, a goal which I hope to achieve very soon.

   If you want to know why I'm doing this, let me know so that I can write a post on becoming a vegetarian, but otherwise I've uploaded a video below which demonstrates some of my feelings about this way of life. 

     
   So, let's talk about the fantastic Linda McCartney Foods dishes which I have been asked to review for National Vegetarian Week.

   If you're a vegetarian, a fan of The Beatles or a follower of food and pop culture, then you'll probably have a good idea of who Linda McCartney was. For those who don't, she was a musician, photographer and animal rights activist married to Sir Paul McCartney; together, the two founded Linda McCartney Foods in 1991, seven years before her death from breast cancer. The company produces vegetarian and vegan dishes, including alternative meat-style foods such as burgers and sausages using soya and wheat proteins.

   I tried out these meals for a week to see if undertaking a completely vegetarian lifestyle was doable. In this week I found out that, 1) with a little creativity, being a veggie is easier and funner than you'd think, 2) I didn't feel any different to how I felt when eating meat as part of my regular diet (apart from the lack of guilt), and 3) Linda McCartney Foods know how to make a tasty meal.



    First of all, who doesn't enjoy a good pie now and then? Believe me, when it comes to 'pie week' on the Great British Bake Off, I'm craving a good deep dish pie, filled to the brim with gravy and veg, and topped off with a nice crusty top.

   Sure, this Deep Dish Country Pie (above) is cooked from frozen, so lacks the freshness of a homemade pie, but it sure does fill a hole in my stomach. The pastry is moist, but not soggy, the top has a nice little crisp to it and the filling is rich and plentiful. An ideal winter warmer!

   I served mine with an onion gravy and a hearty serving of peas, but you could mix it up with any of your favourite veg!



   We Brits seem to love our pastries, and this Cheese and Leek Plait is the ideal snack to keep you going until dinner.

   With a soft pastry crust and a deliciously creamy cheese and leek centre (I'm salivating just thinking about it now), I would happily purchase these again!

   If you're a healthy eater, you might not want to consume too many of these, as the fat content is around 27.8g per plait - but it makes a tasty treat now and then.



   I couldn't resist making myself a vegetarian bangers and mash for dinner yesterday. I really liked the sound of the Red Onion and Rosemary flavourings, so I gave these a go.

   These were quicker to cook than meat sausages, and very different in appearance, but they were equally as tasty. Texture-wise, I would say that they lack the firm skin of a meat sausage, and are slightly knobby inside, but they're really quite edible, and go great with gravy or ketchup!



   I'll admit, these Thai Vegetable Cakes don't look the nicest out of the meal options, but they were one of my favourites taste-wise. Heated for around 35 minutes in the oven, these cakes had a hint of Thai-spice (though I must stress that they're not overbearingly spicy), sweet potato and a nutritious range of vegetables.

   Have one if you're peckish and two if you're ravenous! At 9.3g of fat per cakes, these are totally permissible as a re-energising lunchtime meals in my books.



   Contrary to what the rest of this post might infer, I adore Mediterranean foods, so when I saw that there was a Paella option in the Linda McCartney Foods range, I was more than excited to give it a go.

   I like my paellas really creamy, with thick, fluffy rice and a rich taste. For me, this paella needed a little something extra. I'm really not saying it was a bad meal, as it smelled delicious and tasted good, but I would just add a creamy tomato sauce to give it some life!

   The chicken-style pieces had a decent texture, and were moist as well as tasty, whilst the veg was easily cooked to perfection in the microwave. Overall, an easy meal to prepare in under 7 minutes - great for rushed evenings (which I have plenty of!)


*

   What have you been doing to celebrate National Vegetarian Week? Have you recently turned vegetarian or are thinking about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

* Products gifted for review
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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Makeup Bags to SCREAM About

     I'm not one to hoard, but if there's one thing I don't mind collecting, it's makeup bags (probably because I 'collect' so much makeup that I'm running out of places to put it all). I love coordinating my makeup to my makeup bags to make particular products easier to find - for example, red lipsticks cuddle up together in my velvety red bag, mascaras and other cylindrical eye makeup products are nicely grouped in a tube-shaped bag, etc. Basically, everything has it's place and that's how I like to keep things. Can you tell how anal I am?

   When it comes to pastel nail polishes (and, oh, do I have many) I'm going to pop them in Rosha Nutt's Triple Lolly canvas bag (above) or Shuby's Triple Banana canvas bag (below). These pouches are the perfect size for bulky products - and the graphic illustrations are super cute!

   Both are available for £20 from SCREAM London, a virtual gallery formed by Jamie Wood (Ronnie Wood's son) to support up and coming artists with an urban aesthetic in mind. You can also find other creations such as cushions, crockery and clothing, as well as prints and books.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

GIVEAWAY * Win a Sisley SPF 30 Worth £158 *


   Yes, this sun lotion really is £158. Why?? Because, well, one: it's Sisley, and two: it's not only a sun tan lotion, but also a high end anti-ageing lotion to protect against the effects of UV rays such as brown spots, wrinkles, skin dehydration and loss of firmness.

   All in all, it's everything you need to take on your summer holibobs this year to keep you protected from the sun. After all, we've all had a few bad turns when it comes to sunbathing on holiday, haven't we? (Although, the worst heatstroke I've ever had was achieved in Cambridge. CAMBRIDGE. Of all places...)

    Useful active ingredients in this handy travel-sized product include Soy Peptide extract to promote collagen synthesis, Plant Glycerin for moisturising, and sage and marjoram to stimulate and smooth. For the complete list, visit the Sisley website.

   It comes in a 50ml pump bottle, so it'll pass through security fine in your hand luggage. The formula is also light enough to use on your face - so no more thick, sticky, white lotion fails!

   I'm giving one follower a chance to win this gorgeous product. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below for free!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Lighting for the Eternal Minimalist


   From industrial bare bulbs to extravagant chandeliers and three-wick candles, good lighting makes a room. Imagine rolling in from post-work drinks with friends on a lazy Friday evening in summer as the sun slowly sinks behind the horizon, and you put on some comfy clothes, take your shoes off and lean back in your favourite armchair with a good book and a glass of wine, illuminated by a soft glow from a stunning floor lamp to your right - not so bright that it ruins the atmosphere, but not so dim that you stumble over yourself as you walk in the room. Just how perfect is that little picture?

   I'm always on the lookout for good lighting. Recently, I've been loving floor lamps as they can be easily positioned for effect whilst freeing up valuable surfaces (as an alternative to table lamps). However, because I'm very drawn to the minimalist Nordic aesthetic, my range of options is significantly narrowed - I prefer to purchase this style of homeware from genuine Scandinavian brands rather than Scandi-esque retailers.

   For lighting, VITA copenhagen is a go-to brand. Born in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, their designs are simple, elegant and effortlessly stylish - and they look far more expensive than they are! What's more, they've just released a new colourway for a design which I'm totally in love with: the EOS in Light Grey. Made from goose feathers, this lamp is already available in a warm white and a pretty light brown, but the grey adds a touch of coolness which completely alters the tone of the light to provide a change in atmosphere.

   At just €99, this is a steal compared to some designer lighting companies - and you definitely get your money's worth when it comes to design. I would style mine in a room filled with soft, textured fabrics, hardwood flooring, and silver, white and matte black accents. How would you style yours?


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Sunday, 1 May 2016

April Showers


APRIL SHOWERS


   Spring is such a hard season to navigate, wardrobe-wise: one minute the sun is shining and, though there's a little bit of a chilly wind, it's really quite pleasant - but then the heavens will open and you can bet that those new suede pumps you decided to put on for a walk around town will be unwearable by the time you've got home.

   Most people know by now that the only answer to this unpredictable season is 'layering'. Light layers are easy to take off and throw in your handbag if you get too hot, and on hand if you get too cold. Bonus points if you can get hold of a pretty waterproof like my polka dot jacket* from Lighthouse.

   I'm not that lucky when it comes to buying waterproof clothing; usually, it's either too bulky, too masculine or only available in a really unflattering colour - and the pieces I DO like are way out of my price range. However, Lighthouse produce a range of clothing ideal for the fashionable adventurer complete with relaxed silhouettes, beautifully made designs and brightly coloured fabrics. 

HOW TO STYLE IT


   This polka dot jacket is a variation of the 'Bluejay Short Waterproof'; it's such a gorgeous design AND it's incredibly functional with breathable waterproof and windproof fabric. It's super lightweight, which means it's not the warmest of garments, but (and this is where the layering comes in) all you need to do is chuck on a cardigan or jumper underneath and you're all set!

   I love wearing this with a simple pair of jeans and some good quality, sturdy boots or trainers when I'm out walking the dog - but it'll also go great with a denim skirt if the weather picks up.

   Browse Lighthouse's collections for women, men and kids here: https://www.lighthouseclothing.co.uk/


*Gifted for review
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Friday, 22 April 2016

10 Things That Make Me 'Me'

This post is an advertorial

   This month, the team at Nectar challenged me to reflect on the things in my life that make me 'Me', using just ten items - this could be anything from a pet to a plant pot, so naturally it was extremely hard to narrow my life down to ten items, but I wanted to give it a go to see if it was possible!

   I came up with the above. I must admit, I can be a little superficial sometimes, so some of these items are in this collection because I really love the way they look or the brand is one which I really enjoy using; however, I've also added in some items which have sentimental value to me - because, believe it or not, I do have a heart!


1. José the Cactus

   I love to surround myself with cacti and succulents of all sorts, mainly because I love plants - but I'm not really very good at looking after them, and cacti are great at looking after themselves. Incredibly low maintenance, these plants need hardly any water, and are quite happy to sit on a windowsill in indirect sunlight, just cacti-ing away.


2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

   Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 14, and I love using different types of cameras to create my photos. The Instax Mini is a Polaroid-style camera; however, I also like using DSLRs, film cameras and lomography cameras.

3. La Cafetiere Teapot

   I'm a tea fiend - I love drinking it and I love collecting it, and that means teapots and crockery too! One of my goals is to eventually build myself a 'teapot wall', which will feature a teapot from every country I visit. And I would love to own a tea emporium or quintessentially English cafe!

   This teapot is one of my current favourites, bought for me as a Christmas present by my lovely boyfriend. I love that you can see the tea brewing, so you know when it has reached the perfect colour!

4. A photo of my dogs

   I have two dogs called Hero and Lili, and they live with my parents but I absolutely love going to see them. I couldn't imagine what life would be like without them, but I do hope to add a canine friend to the clan and get a dog of my own in future.

   I keep this photo in my bedroom, as it's very dear to me and I love seeing their beautiful faces when I wake up.

5. My copper saucepan set

   Two of my favourite past times are cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes and adding my own tweaks to old favourites; my favourite cuisines to whip up are Italian and Mediterranean, but I'd love to learn how to cook a few more dishes from my Filipino heritage.

   Copper saucepans are great for cooking at high temperatures because they conduct heat really well - and they also look really pretty.

 6. Le Jasmin by Miller Harris

    This is, without a doubt, my favourite perfume, for two reasons: firstly, it reminds me of the first time I went to London with my boyfriend - we walked around Covent Garden, and I visited the Miller Harris store and tried out this scent (and was instantly addicted) - and secondly, it's a beautifully unique fragrance which I've never seen anywhere else on the high street.

7. Copper Wire Basket

   I'm incredibly organised and I hate mess, which means that anything I can use to file away loose items is a huge savior. This copper wire basket has a really pretty design and, at the moment, it sits on my kitchen counter holding my cooking utensils.

8. Kindle Fire HDX

   As someone who loves to read, I highly recommend this tablet. It can store a huge amount of books, apps, photos and music, and its the perfect size for popping into your handbag for a day of reading at the beach or on your commute.

9. Chevron notebook

   As a writer, notebooks are my best friends. I have around ten of these on the go at any one time, but I use this one in particular for my daily thoughts and musings. Not particularly exciting to an unfamiliar onlooker, but it helps me organise my mind, and refer back to things when I'm writing articles or blog posts.

10. Nike Revolution 3 trainers

   Casual clothing is my go-to on my off-duty days. You can usually find me in a pair of Nike trainers (I LOVE the Air Max Thea Desert trainers but can't find them anywhere!), black leggings and a comfy jersey top, or chunky knit jumper if it's cold.

   These trainers are super lightweight, comfortable and I love the colour combination of the grey base and coral swoosh.


   What are the ten things that make you 'You'? Leave a link to your version of this post in the comments and follow the conversation on Twitter using #makesmeMe!

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