Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I'm a little teapot (plus a giveaway!)



On Tuesday I received a delightful parcel from Sarah's etsy shop, Jewellery Shaped Things. I ordered it on the Friday and it arrived on Tuesday. It's so lovely, and who doesn't love receiving parcels tied up with string?  It really cheered me up on a glum Tuesday.  


I wore it with my bargainous Primark dress that was only £5 about 2 years ago and I've worn it so much and there isn't a single stitch come undone! Which is very shocking considering it's Primark haha. The cost per wear for it must be getting quite low by now too. I also wore my lovely shoes from Duo, but that was a big mistake after going to the gym in the morning. Such sore calves!

There are some lovely things in Sarah's shop...



And one lucky reader can win one item of their choice from Sarah's shop! To enter simply leave a comment letting me know what is cheering you up on these dull January days, to try to cheer me up too. The giveaway will close at 9pm GMT on Tuesday 1st February. (Don't forget to leave some way of me to get in touch with you!) Good luck!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Lady Heyes furniture finds

I've blogged about Lady Heyes before but it was a long time. Lady Heyes is a antiques/craft village type thing just outside Frodsham, Cheshire. There are different little outbuildings full of second hand goodies. I've been lots of times before but this was my first time taking Scott so we can look at stuff for our house. In one of the back rooms there was this little corner all full of fab 70s style/mid century modern furniture that I am loving at the moment! We needed a coffee table and couldn't decide between these two below. The circular one is a g-plan one and was £28 and the rectangular one was £12. So we decided to go with the cheaper one because it will be easier to fit into any room and has storage for all those magazines and 'coffee table' books. I love that green telephone too but it was £25 which was a bit ridic. for a telephone I thought!

lady heyes

new coffee table

lady heyes

I also loved this little kitchen corner. The pink unit is adorable! I think I would paint the pink a turquoisey colour though. Alas, Scott didn't like it. 

lady heyes

The rest of Lady Heyes is full of cute knick knacks. Definitely a place to go if you want a tea set. It would be a great place to buy loads of tea cups for a party or wedding too, or mismatched crockery too. 

sideboard

We also bought this 1970s teak dressing table! It was reduced to £52 and we're going to pick it up with a van in 2 weeks time. We are planning to use it as a TV unit or sideboard though by removing the mirror and perhaps just use the mirror as a full length mirror. 

Anyone in the north west really should visit Lady Heyes for some cheap cheap furniture finds! Oh and there is also a microbrewery there and I spent saturday night sipping on some 'Blush' beer, which was a lovely fruity real ale. Hmmm. 

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Wall art

Lately I've been scouring Etsy for some fantastic prints to adorn the walls of our future house. 

This is actually a print that we own already. We bought it from the Red Door Gallery on our visit to Edinburgh in October. It is available on Etsy from Kate McLelland though. We are going to try to collect posters from all of our travels now (although they may be limited in the future!)

We both love the weird animal prints by Berkley Illustration! This little chappy would certainly cheer up our house on a glum day. 

I love how intricate the details are on this drawing by Christine Berry

This would be perfect in the kitchen! I love how colourful all of Laura Amiss's work is. 

I got Scott this squirrel from the Tugboat print shop for Christmas. They are all woodcut prints and there are some seriously amazing prints available in their shop


Finally, two library related prints that I cannot resist. The first one is by paperfingers and the last one is by Paul of Navarone in Glasgow. It's actually made from a map! Love it. 

Anyone have any Etsy shops for prints to recommend to me? 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Tarta de Santiago

My Nana has been asking me for a while to bake this cake. First, she saw a recipe for it in one of her Spanish magazines so she gave it to me. However, the directions were really vague like 'one glass of water' and didn't tell you what size cake tin to use! So I was scared. Then my Nana & Grandad got me the 1080 recipe book by Simone Ortega that is famous throughout Spain and I noticed there was a recipe in it for the Tarta de Santiago!

1080 recipes

The cake itself originates from the Galicia region of Spain in the North. Although the name of it is 'tarta', it is not a pie or tart! It's called this because 'torta' is Galician for cake. The cake is the cake of St. James and usually a cross is stencilled on top of the cake with icing sugar. The cake contains lots of ground almonds which give it a slight nutty taste and dense texture and some lemon rind too which gives it a summery taste.

tarta de santiago

The recipe itself made a HUGE amount! It included 8 eggs, 500g almonds and 400g plain flour. However, once I made the mix up I realised it was way too much and it made 2 8-inch cakes. The recipe said it served 4-6 people so they must be a pretty greedy 4-6 people if they could eat two 8-inch cakes! Anyhow, next time I will halve the recipe and this is the recipe I've included below:

Ingredients
125g butter
4 eggs
250g caster sugar
200g plain flour
125ml water
250g ground almonds
Zest of one lemon

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180c and grease an 8-inch cake tin. 
2. Mix together the caster sugar & eggs until pale and fluffy. 
3. Add in the butter (at room temperature), water and flour and mix until the mixture is all incorporated. 
4. Finally add the ground almonds and zest and mix together. 
5. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the preheated oven for approx 40-50 mins or until the top is just turning golden and a skewer comes out clean. 
6. Leave cake to cool and then dust with icing sugar. 


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Lunch time

Lunch

Lately I've been trying to come up some more interesting lunch ideas, as I was getting a bit bored of the homemade soup & a roll rut I had got stuck in before Christmas. I mean, soup is nice and warming but when you make a batch of a soup that goes slightly wrong but still have to eat it all week, it isn't too good. For example, I made some carrot & lentil soup from a BBC Good Food recipe but it included NO onions or garlic at all! I thought this was pretty weird but followed it anyway. It was horrible! Just tasted like what I imagine baby purée tastes like. I still had to eat it all week in work though. 

I am a follower of Laura's fab blog, Keeping Slim & Getting Stylish, and she always posts great ideas for lunches. I saw her post of nori wraps and was inspired instantly! I tried some on the first day with humus, prawns and a variety of vegetables. Then I tried them with homemade peanut butter humus from Nigella's Kitchen cookbook, tuna and various vegetables which is what is photographed above. On Saturday I had ran out of tuna & prawns but still wanted some kind of protein in the wraps otherwise they wouldn't be filling at all, so I whipped up a 'tamagoyaki' which is basically a folded omelette, to use as my main filling. My wraps are slightly inspired by Japanese cooking, but obviously a westernised version. 

I've been reading up about Japanese cookery and have been quite inspired by it. I want to try making some sushi rice (sushi is NOT raw fish, but the rice that they use! I don't think I would ever eat raw fish bought from a fish mongers in England. It has to be really really fresh) to add to my rolls too for a bit of carbohydrate. I love the Japanese bento boxes. The idea behind them is a healthy balanced lunch that also is cheap. They often use leftovers or whatever odds & ends of vegetables are hanging around in the fridge. I've been reading 'Just Bento' for some inspiration. 

Mixed-noodle pasta with pepper confit and wiener flowers





It all looks so much more tasty & healthy than a boring sandwich doesn't it?! 


Sunday, 16 January 2011

*

*
shoes - clarks
dress - asos
belt - asos
cardigan - zara
coat - topshop
bag - ollie & nic

Don't you hate it when you take a photo of an outfit and then minutes later decide you just don't like it? I think this would look better with some heels because the dress almost hits my knee and makes me look kind of stumpy. Ah well. I wore this on my day off to go for some house viewings. It was really balmy, I think the temperature got up to 11c! So I wore my spring/autumn jacket from Topshop that I haven't had the chance to wear since about September. It reminds me that Spring is just around the corner! 

House viewing is very scary and I keep going through phases of 'yes, let's buy buy buy!' and then other times I'm like 'what if....we have no money, I get made redundant, etc, etc'. I know for a fact that I will have to STOP buying clothes. I haven't really bought many clothes in the past few months anyway as we have been saving, but all my money would be pumped into the house. I may even do a little blog sale perhaps to raise some extra revenue? It is such an exciting but scary time really. 

In other news, my training for my run is going pretty well. I can do 3 miles in 22 minutes on the treadmill now, although it's more like 2 miles in 20 minutes when it's actually outside. I wanted to go for a run today but it is raining and I don't have any waterproofs! Hoping it dies down later. Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend too! 


Sunday, 9 January 2011

Weekend

Saturday
Shoes - Clarks
Coat - New Look
Dress - Peacocks
Bag - Asos

Saturday
(This is one of the two cathedrals that Liverpool has, it is the Roman Catholic one. Scousers call it 'Paddy's wigwam, because the bishop of Liverpool was called Patrick and well errr it looks like a wigwam! I love how modern it looks, really contrasts with the Anglican one, which is also beautiful.)

I've had a lovely weekend! On Saturday we went for a scary bank appointment about mortgages and it looks like we may me moving out soon (once we find our perfect place! Think we need to call Phil & Kirsty in...). Afterwards we went into Liverpool to do a little bit of shopping. The plan was to go and watch Tron Legacy, but instead we went for tapas at Lunya and ended up WAY too full to think about sitting in a dark room watching a film. We had a little bit of retail therapy and then visited my friend Corinne who works in Brew Tea Bar. If you ever visit Liverpool, you need to visit Lunya and Brew, they are my 2 fave places! They also both sell their stuff online which is great. Brew specialise in loose leaf tea and different tea based drinks. I had a sangria fruit punch steamer, which is a fruity type tea with bits of fruit in it. Perfect to warm myself up with. They also do it in a chilled icey version with frozen fruit and it's lovely in the summer. They also do green tea lattes and earl grey lattes! I tried the green tea latte once though and it nearly made me sick, but the earl grey latte is lovely.

I have wore my new coat all weekend, I love it and it was such a bargain. I saw it in the shop before Christmas at full price, £45, but thought 'nah, don't really need another coat and it might not be that good quality', then I saw it on the website after Christmas reduced to £15!! That's 2/3 off! So I ordered it straight away and it arrived on the same day that my peter pan collar dress from Peacocks did too, that Carla was tweeting about the other night, so thanks for the tip off Carla! You can't quite appreciate my new coat in all it's glory because my hair is covering up the cute fur collar. I also can't decide what colour it is, coraly red? I like it anyway, even if it does clash slightly with my bright red shoes.

I didn't really buy anything in Liverpool, but I did buy some new cereal bowls (this blog may end up mostly featuring new housey purchases in the future!). No ordinary cereal bowls of course, Cath Kidston cereal bowls. I got 2 dotty and 2 spray flowers.

cathkidstonbowls

I think that they will cheer up my mornings.

After a busy day yesterday I've had a leisurely Sunday, went for a 2 mile run this morning (building myself up slowly for my 10k run in May! The Nike+ iPhone app is really great though) and then we had family round for a paella. Hmm paella. Reminds me that in 4 weeks time I will nearly be in Valencia having an amazing paella on the beach with mi familia! How was your weekend? 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

First day back at work.

First day back at work
Shoes - Topshop
Dress - Zara

Ahh so yesterday was the dreaded first day back at work after the Christmas break. I wasn't dreading it really, I had already been in in between Christmas & New Year so it wasn't too bad. In fact I was quite looking forward to getting back to my routine and getting back to the gym. This is what I wore for my first day back, black & boring but simple! I adore this dress from Zara, it was about £36 I think. I have wore it so much, it's good for dressing up or dressing down. I love the shape of it too, it fits into my work wardrobe brilliantly because it's not all 'power-dressing' but still remains professional looking.

I spent my first day in work catching up on a few projects and then making little finger puppets in the afternoon for my rhyme time on Friday! Rhyme time is a weekly event for 0-4 year olds where we sing songs & rhymes with them and tell stories. It is so much fun! It's also a great way to introduce little ones to the library and to help them develop their literacy. I made little incey wincey spider finger puppets. I do love my job. 

How was everyone elses first day back? Or are you at Uni, attempting to catch up on all the work for the January deadlines? Those January deadlines used to ruin my Christmases! 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

So this is the New Year

Yesterday - 
Shoes - Topshop
Dress - New Look
Cardigan - M&S


Today -
Shoes - Topshop
Skirt - Topshop
T-shirt - Belle & Sebastian
Cardigan - Dorothy Perkins

My first 2 outfits in 2011! Doesn't 2011 sound weird? A new decade. I hope it's a good one. I spent New Year's Day mostly in bed and then tidying up from our small soiree.  Then we had a big family dinner that we always do every New Year's Day, it's like a mini Christmas dinner. It's quite nice to have a final binge before the inevitable 'healthy eating' starts.

So what does 2011 have to hold for me? In February I am going to visit my Spanish family with my grandparents and Scott, it'll be the first time Scott has met them all and I think the language barrier is worrying him but I'm really excited! Then in May I will be running my first race! I've entered for the Manchester 10k and have joined the gym and everything in a bid to get fit. I think tomorrow I will take my first visit to the gym of the year. The 2nd half of this year is looking a bit empty at the moment but I'm sure it will rapidly fill up with exciting things.

Today Scott & myself visited Cheshire Oaks to indulge in some discounted goods, namely discounted Le Creuset pans. We treated ourself to this 20cm Cerise cast iron casserole dish, I can't wait to rustle up a good scouse in it. I'm a bit in love with it and would like a rather large collection of all different sized Le Creuset pans, but alas I also need a kitchen big enough to fit them all in.


Le creuset

Hope this year has been good for you so far, tell me your plans, aims & dreams for the next 12 months! 

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