Well Hello There 2016…

IMG_1177IMG_1183HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I know you will have seen it everywhere, but seriously where did 2015 go… 2016 kind of just crept up on me and it’s a little scary!

I can’t complain though. It was a particularly good year for me…

In January I popped my snowboarding cherry and went on a week long holiday to Pamporovo in Bulgaria. It was my first time on proper snow and my god it was so hard! After a few bumps, falls and tantrums I decided to hang up the snowboard and I may try my hand at skiing instead…

In June I headed to the Lake District on my hen to celebrate my last few weeks of freedom. It was a great weekend spent with my friends and family and a very low key affair. I’m not much of a party animal – Boring I know, but my friends obviously knew this and planned the most perfect getaway full of food and pampering, two of my favourite things!

In July, after ALOT of planning, I finally tied the knot. It was the most perect day surrounded by friends and family and I couldn’t have wished for a better one, even though there were a few hiccups along the way! I will hopefully be sharing a few more unseen snaps of the day throughout the year maybe to mark our anniversary.

Not long after the wedding (two days to be precise) we jetted off to America on our honeymoon. It’s my first time visiting the States but it will definitely not be my last. We headed to LA, Monterrey and San Francisco and I also decided that if I ever win the lottery I will 100% be moving to San Francisco as it is the most beautiful city!

I’ve made so many memories in 2015 and I hope that 2016 brings just as much fun and laughter. I’ve got a few things in the pipeline like visiting my friend in London in January and I’m also starting an online, certified photography coure. It’s something I’ve always been passionate about and my In-Laws surprised me with it at Christmas. I cannot wait to get started, watch this space! 🙂

Do you have any plans for the New Year!? Lets make it a year to remember…

Bx

Recipe | Shortbread Christmas Tree

DSC_0097_01It’s my day off so I decided to do something a little Christmassy – It is only nine days away after all…

I bought this cookie cutter set last year and decided to make myself a little edible Christmas tree. It worked well so I decided to share it with you today. My cutters were from Avon however I’ve found this set from Lakeland which is the exact same. I only use the 5 smallest ones as the bigger ones take up an entire baking tray and nobody’s got time for that!

The entire process is so simple and the fun thing is you can decorate it however you want.

DSC_0101_01For the shortbread you will need:

  • 100g Butter
  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 50g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1tbsp Milk

For the decoration you will need:

  • Plenty of imagination
  • White or Milk Chocolate

Preheat your oven to 150˚C then add the butter, flour and ginger into a large mixing bowl and using your fingers rub it together to form a breadcrumb consistency. Add the sugar and mix it in. Start working the mix into a ball. I added the milk here to help the mixture stick together better, however, you can always use extra butter if it feels to dry. Likewise, if it feels too sticky and gloopy, add more flour until you have a ball of dough that you feel can be rolled out.

Roll it out onto a floured work surface turning it as you go so it doesn’t stick and then using your cookie cutters, cut out two of each size star. The more stars you cut, the taller the Christmas tree will stand. If you have more mouths to feed then cut three out or cut four and make two separate trees. Prick the top of the shortbread before placing in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. The shortbread should be pale and soft when it comes out of the oven, but don’t worry, it will harden as it cools.

Leave it to cool completely before constructing your tree.

Melt your chosen chocolate and start with the two largest stars, these will be the base. Blob a bit of chocolate in the middle of one of the stars and then stack the other one on top – Make sure that you turn the second star so that the pointy parts sit where the non-pointy parts are on the bottom star (technical or what)!? Carry on stacking the shortbread until you reach the top. It should resemble a Christmas Tree now…

You can decorate it however you wish – I just lightly dusted it with icing sugar and stuck a bow on for the pictures and then demolished it and gave it to my nephew to decorate as I know he will have much more fun – and also my sister has to do the cleaning up that way! Smarties make great baubles and this writing icing is great for tinsel, or what about edible glitter!? The possibilities are endless 🙂

Let me know if you will be having a go at making your very own edible Christmas Tree…

Bx

Review | Flash Eyelash Serum

A few months back I started a three month trial of eyelash serum that promises long, sexy, curled lashes fast. Now I’m always a bit skeptical about these types of products but I gave it a go and 3 months later here I am…

DSC_0066_01I started my trial at the beginning of September and every night for the next 12 weeks I applied a sweep of the serum onto my top eyelashes. I must admit, a few nights I did forget but come on, we’re not all perfect! I preferred to use it at nighttime as I sometimes found it stung my eyes a little bit and they would get a bit tired, however, this was after wearing my contact lenses all day – Most of the time it was absolutely fine.

After a couple of weeks I could really start to see a difference, not so much to the length of my lashes but to the shape. They were much more curled even without using mascara. Over the next few weeks they started to get longer and I actually struggled to put mascara on in the end as they were so long! Every time I looked up it would end up all over my eyelid – Which obviously isn’t a bad thing as that’s the reason I was using it after all…

I would definitely use Flash Eyelash Growth again as it did work and I did feel like my eyelashes were much fuller. One of the things I would suggest, and this is just my opinion, is trimming your eyelashes towards the end as I found they got a bit ‘spidery’ with mascara on. Obviously get someone to do it for you as the last thing you want to do is trim them a bit too much and lose all your hard work!

Flash retails at $45 (around £30) and can be bought here. You can also connect with their social media channels here InstagramTwitterFacebook to see other peoples progress.

Bx

Thanks to Monica at Flash for sending me the product to try- All views are my own!

Pumpkin Picking at Farmer Copley’s

imageAt the weekend Rich and I decided to go pumpkin picking. For as long as we’ve been together we always carve pumpkins at Halloween and obviosuly compete for the title of best one… We drove to Farmer Copley’s in Pontefract where there were over a 1000 pumpkins to choose from – To be honest I was a little overwhelmed, it’s usually just a trip to Tesco’s and you get to choose from a measely few. Not here though! There were standard orange ones, white ones, green ones, blue ones and they ranged from tiny to massive and when I say massive I mean way too big to carry!

Being the indecisive person I am it took me a good hour to choose mine, it had to be the perfect shape and every time I thought I’d found one I picked it up and it was flat underneath! Rich was done in 5 minutes and he’d already washed and taken his back to the car before i’d grabbed a wheelbarrow.

The one I decided on was waaaaaay too big and will probably take me until Halloween weekend to carve, wish me luck!

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageMines the big one in the wheelbarrow, not the one i’m holiding, although that one was my favourite and holds pride of place on the coffee table.imageimageimageThere was a farm shop just at the entrance where we managed to grab something for dinner and also squeeze our own orange juice… It’s the little things!

If your in the area I would 100% recommend heading there as there is so much to see and do and especially if you have kids.

Do you have any Halloween traditions? The next tradition on my list is Christmas tree shopping – Roll on December!

Bx

Photo Diary | Salou, Barcelona & PortAventura

DSC_0016I’ve just got back from a much needed week long holiday in Salou. I haven’t had much time off since the wedding so I felt like I really needed this little bit of winter sunshine to perk me up a bit – My life isn’t exactly stressful by any means but it was just nice to get away with the family and spend some time switched off and away from work.

A lot of the time Rich and I decided to head off and do our own thing during the day time and then meet the family on the night time for food and wine – FYI lots of wine was consumed… We took a trip to Barcelona and spent two days at a theme park riding some pretty big rollercoasters! The weather was surprisingly hot for this time of the year so it was a nice surprise. I had the worst time packing my suitcase as the weather forecast said rain and we only had 15kg allowance… Help!

If you follow me on Instagram then you will have probably seen a few pictures on there but I’ve just cleared my camera off so have a few more to share, enjoy!

Salou

We spent most of our time at the beach in Salou which was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. We found a nice little beach with not many people on it so it was very quiet and relaxing.

DSC_0017imageimageDSC_0018DSC_0020DSC_0030DSC_0042Barcelona

We headed to Barcelona for a day during the week on the train and decided to use the tube to get around. We both got 10 stops but didn’t go to anywhere near that many places. I think I underestimated how big it was and how much there was to see there. However, what we did see was really good!

DSC_0076

imageDSC_0107imageDSC_0120DSC_0112 PortAventura Theme Park

This was one of my favourite parts of the holiday as it bought out my inner child. The theme park was decorated all ready for Halloween, full of pumpkins and spooky skeletons. One of the days we were there it rained so hardly anything was open which was a disappointment, but the second day was 100 times better and we got to ride lots of rollercoasters.

DSC_0150DSC_0164imageimageimageimageimageimageimageHave you been on any holidays this Autumn? Sometimes it’s nice to just get away for a week when it’s cold in England!

Bx

Recipe | Smooth Winter Vegetable Soup

DSC_0008_04DSC_0037_02Autumn, autumn, autumn! My absolute favourite time of the year is back again – Yippee! There’s just something about it that makes me want to curl up in a ball under a blanket and eat a ridiculous amount of soup. Last year we decided to buy this soup maker from Morphy Richards and all I have to say is it’s amazing. I always used to buy tinned soup from the supermarket, however, there’s just something about knowing exactly what goes into it that I really like, so without further ado…

You will need:

  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Parsnip
  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Large Potato (or 2 small ones)
  • 1 Swede
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Vegetable Stock Cubes
  • 1 1/2 Pints of Water

There are two methods for making this soup. If you have a soup maker:

Roughly chop all the veg into cubes and place it in the soup maker. Sprinkle in two vegetable stock cubes and pour over the water (cold water works fine). Place the lid on and choose the ‘smooth’ option – Let the machine do all the hard work and tuck in!

For the soup lovers without a machine:

Chop all the veg up into small cubes. Add the onion to a large pan and fry up with a tiny bit of oil. Add the rest of the veg and the stock (for this version it’s easier to make the stock up using boiling water) and simmer until the veg softens – The smaller you chop the veg, the quicker it will happen.

Once it’s softened enough, transfer the contents of the pan into a blender and whizz up until it’s nice and smooth. You can use a hand blender for this and it also saves washing up – Just blend it in the pan, bonus!

The soup will last up to three days refrigerated in an air tight container.

What are your favourite things to do in the Autumn?

Bx

Photo Diary | San Francisco – Part One

DSC_0030I’ve decided to split my San Francisco photo diary into a few posts – I’m not exactly sure how many, but there are a lot of pictures I want to share from this beautiful city. I’m going to kick things off with my favourite day while we were there – and also the most spontaneous, biking over the Golden Gate Bridge.

As soon as we arrived in San Francisco I was on the lookout for this iconic landmark. After mistaking it for the Bay Bridge three times, I finally spotted it on one of our touristy walks. It was a great sight and I was finally at ease knowing that I had seen it and I wouldn’t leave disappointed.

On the third day we were there we didn’t have any plans so we did a bit of research and found a guided bike tour that takes you over the bridge. I knew I wanted to do it so we reserved our places and took ourselves off to the rental place to get kitted out. It’s one of the things I would 100% recommend doing if you are ever in San Francisco as you will have the best time! It took us around 4 hours in total, although, the guides took us off on random detours to show us different sights and we had to stop every now and again so that people could catch up – One of the things I would suggest is doing it on your own. We were a little worried about getting lost, but it is literally tourist heaven and there is a well laid out trail to follow. It should only take a couple of hours and you can enjoy the tour at your own leisure that way.

The closer we got to the bridge the more breathtaking it became and the pictures don’t actually do it justice. It’s one of those things that you need to see in person to really believe just how beautiful and ridiculously big it is. We finished the tour in Sausalito which is a little Bay Area at the opposite side of the bridge, we stopped here to have a spot of dinner and then caught the ferry back across to Pier 39 where we dropped our bikes off – It was a bit of a cop out really not biking back over, but it was already pretty late and we needed to get back. I was pretty tired so I was quietly fist pumping the air 😉

So here it is, my favourite day from San Francisco, I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed the ride… DSC_0012DSC_0019DSC_0052DSC_0029DSC_0035DSC_0058DSC_0064DSC_0068DSC_0073DSC_0060_01The next installement of my San Fransisco photo diary will be up on Monday so be sure to check back for more from my travels…

Bx