Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy halloween

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Wellies - Joules, Socks - M&S, Jeans - Topshop, Coat - Miss Selfridge, Scarf & Hat - Cath Kidston, Bag - Ollie & Nic.

Pumpkins

This is what I wore to go and watch the lantern parade. My god, was I glad I had wellies on! It was so so muddy. We actually went out that morning to the shops just to buy Scott a pair of wellies as they are something he's needed for a while and we knew it would be muddy. So glad we did! I always feel like a big kid wearing wellies too, I want to jump into every puddle. I also wore my new Cath Kidston scarf. I've actually had it a while but it hasn't been cold enough yet to wear a scarf although it is now. I usually tuck my scarves in to my coat but this scarf is too cute not to show off the squirrel. 

We carved our pumpkins on Sunday afternoon too and put them on our door step. Literally 5 minutes after I put them outside, some really scouse lads walked past and went 'aww that's sick dat!'. So funny. Last year we only had one group of trick or treaters, despite having our pumpkins outside too, so we shall see how many we get this year. We have lots of chocolate ready for them which I am sure we will find a way of using up some how if we don't get many, I hate to see food to go to waste... 

Do you get many trick or treaters or go trick or treating? 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Liverpool lantern parade 2012



Liverpool lantern parade 2012

Yesterday was one of the highlights of the year in Liverpool - the lantern parade in Sefton Park. This is the 3rd time I've been and each year it keeps getting bigger and better. The lantern parade is ran by the Lantern Company who work in partnership with local arts organisations to create an amazing spectacle. Each year they hold lantern making workshops that people can attend to build their own lanterns and take part. 

Liverpool lantern parade 2012

Liverpool lantern parade 2012

Liverpool lantern parade 2012

Liverpool lantern parade 2012

This year's was just as amazing as the rest. There were lots of small drama performances around the whole park as you walked around, whilst the main lantern parade and band walked around the park to the finale stage. This year's theme was dreams and the projections on to the screens in the park were amazing. One thing we were disappointed about was the lack of fireworks like there has been other years, but we do get a firework display in Sefton Park in just over a week so I can't complain. It's just made us more excited for that. 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Millionaire's flapjack


Millionaire's flapjack 

Millionaire's flapjack

At the weekend I was feeling sorry for myself feeling ill and then I stumbled on Liv's blog post about making Mary Berry's flapjacks . Flapjacks are so easy to make so I decided that I felt up to making some. I also started reminiscing about the best ever flapjacks from a cafe that I used to work in. My boss would never follow a recipe though and would use SO much golden syrup, we got through bucket loads of cartons. The end result was so gooey and sweet, heaven for a sweet-toothed girl like me. So, not content with just making gooey flapjacks, I decided to combine that other favourite, millionaire's shortbread. The end result was so so amazing. Gooey, chewy, chocolatey! Everything you want in a flapjack.

Millionaire's flapjack

Ingredients

250g oats
125g butter
90g golden syrup (and an extra spoonful for good luck!)
90g brown sugar
A tin of carnation caramel
200g milk chocolate

Method

1. Grease and line a 20x30cm baking tray with butter and greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180c. 
2. Melt together in a sauce pan the butter, syrup and sugar. 
3. Mix in the oats to the melted butter mixture and then put the oaty mix into the baking tray and press down and into the corners. 
4. Bake for about 20-30, or until the edges are just turning brown but the mixture is still soft. It's important not to cook it to a crisp because the mixture sets and hardens as it cools down. It must still be soft when you take it out of the oven! 
5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and set. Remove from the tin. Pour the tin of carnation caramel over the flapjack and spread to cover the whole flapjack. Place the flapjack in the fridge to set the caramel. 
6. Melt the chocolate over a saucepan of water then pour and spread the chocolate over the caramel layer. Place back in the fridge to set the chocolate.  
7. When the chocolate layer is set, cut the flapjack into squares using a large knife dipped into hot boiling water to get through the cold chocolate. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pumpkin picking!

Pumpkin picking!

Pumpkins

On Sunday, we visited Kenyon Hall Farm, which is just over half an hour away from Liverpool on the M62 and is a little farm that we've been going to for a few years now. In the summer, we go strawberry and raspberry picking there, then in the Autumn they open up the pumpkin fields. Unfortunately, this year has been a poor harvest because of bad weather, so we didn't have as much choice as other years. They were all just pretty much average size, rather than some whoppers we've had other years. I am always fond of the little baby pumpkins anyway so I wasn't too bothered. 

Pumpkin picking!

Pumpkins

It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon after a really cold foggy morning in Liverpool. The farm shop there is really great now too, I could have easily spent so much money on strange vegetables that I don't know what to do with. Also, so many jams and conserves! I definitely recommend Kenyon Hall for a day out in the north west, it's right near the M62 and M6 so easy to get to by car. I'm currently now looking at their Christmas catalogue and getting so excited for pigs in blankets. Meanwhile, I ought to focus on more pertinent tasks like what to carve into my pumpkin! I was thinking maybe an owl? Anyone else have any ideas? 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Weekend outfits

Red & polka dots
Last Saturday: Skirt - River Island, Jumper - H! by Henry Holland, Shoes - Clarks.

This is what I wore last weekend to go to the museum, you can see most of the outfit in my photos on my last post but I thought I'd share it with some more detail. I love this jumper but the collar is attached to it and it annoys me that it's so hard to keep the collar white. Grr. Below I wore an actual blouse with a collar and my jumper over it so while this won't be annoying to clean, I ended up being too warm! I can't win...

Sunday outfit
Sunday: Shoes - Converse, Jeans - Topshop Baxters, Jumper - Tesco, Blouse - Charity shop, Necklace - Hobbs.

OMG - jeans. I know. I hardly wear jeans on my blog, but actually I wear them a lot at weekends. They're warm and cosy and practical. I wore this to go pumpkin picking, so it necessitated something practical and warm, hence the jeans and converse. When I was a teenager, I had a big collection of converse; even pink & leopard print ones! I still have my very first pair of converse and they are so comfy and perfectly worn, I don't think I'll ever be able to throw them out. Even if they're not 100% water tight anymore... I also wear this mustard coloured jumper lots too because it is so cosy. Sometimes I just throw it on over whatever I'm wearing in the house as an extra layer so I don't have to put the heating on! The blouse underneath it is a lovely little blouse I found in Oxfam for £2. It was originally from Next and is lovely on it's own too, I really should wear it more. 

I've had half a lovely weekend and half of it wasted feeling ill with a sore throat. So annoying that I'm on my second cold of the winter already. I felt lots better on Sunday though and made the most of it with breakfast with Alex, Char, Steph and Char's friend Lisa. Then we went pumpkin picking with Scott's siblings and then for a big Sunday dinner at my Mum's. I'll be sharing some photos from pumpkin picking soon! Have you all had a nice weekend? 


Friday, 19 October 2012

Happy Friday!

Lambana

The three graces

Ice cream

Ferry

Me & Scott

Happy Friday everyone! As I had a week off work last week, this week has felt loooong and hard so I am really looking forward to 2 days off. This weekend we are planning on going pumpkin picking for halloween and generally relaxing. I might also fit in a long run. Last weekend we had a busy one, starting on Saturday with a visit to the museum with my Mum, sister and niece. We took her on her first bus journey (she is only 2) and also her first visit to a museum. We went back to the Museum of Liverpool and Sophia really enjoyed it. There is a room called 'Little Liverpool' with lots of things for kids to do and she had fun playing with the boats in the mini-docks (and got very wet too!). We also sat on the Overhead Railway carriage and had some nice food in the cafe. The Albert Dock area and the Three Graces are linked with the new museum and it's really redeveloped the area and it's really nice to go for a stroll now. There are also lambananas outside the museum and I couldn't resist having my photo taken with one. Sometimes it's nice to feel like a tourist in your home city. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Beneath the blue suburban skies

Last Friday, in between the torrential showers and hail stones that I got caught in on my 5k run, it was actually pretty sunny. I take every chance that I can at getting some sunshine in these winter months, so I decided to go for a little stroll around the neighbourhood, up to Allerton Road and down Penny Lane. The autumn sunshine just makes me want to take photos of everything.

South Liverpool

South Liverpool

South Liverpool

South Liverpool

South Liverpool

South Liverpool

South Liverpool

It was looking very picturesque. I did feel a bit like a tourist taking a photo of the Penny Lane street sign, the street made famous by The Beatles of course. This area of South Liverpool is where John Lennon and Paul McCartney grew up and you often see the 'Magical Mystery Tour' bus taking tourists to their childhood houses. I'm not really a big fan of The Beatles, but I am fond of the song Penny Lane now. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Spots or stripes

Autumn stroll
shoes - clarks, skirt - river island, t-shirt - h&m, cardigan - dorothy perkins

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shoes - carvela, skirt - new look, t-shirt - dorothy perkins, cardigan - dorothy perkins

I can never choose between spots or stripes, my wardrobe is full of both. I was tidying up my wardrobe for winter and rediscovered the stripy skirt. I haven't wore it in so long. It's just slightly too short and slightly too puffy to wear for work (I am afraid of flashing members of the public) so I don't wear it as often as I would like. 

The polka dot skirt was bought earlier this year, a bargain at £16 from River Island! I don't buy things from River Island often, but I saw Sarah with it and really needed to have it so off I popped and prayed that it didn't have any hideous embellishments on it, as so often happens in River Island. Don't you have it when your drawn to something nice in there only to discover there is a horrible 'River Island' logo on it or some diamentes for no real reason? I think they are getting wise to this and are toning it down a bit. 

So, is it spots or stripes for you?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Malteser cake

Malteser cake

I have been making this cake for forever. Well, it feels like it! For over 4 years. It's a family favourite but when I made it this week, it just didn't have the same spark. The cake was chewy and a bit flavourless. I honestly don't know what I did wrong. The icing was lovely, as it always is, so I may try the icing with a basic chocolate sponge. This sponge recipe doesn't have much butter at all in it, so I will try one with a bit more fat content to see if it has less of a rubbery texture. It was a bit disappointing, but it did all get eaten so it wasn't too bad! Maybe I just have high standards for myself now.

Malteser cake

This malteser cake recipe post from 2009 is the highest viewed on my blog ever, so I feel like it is my duty to help the people of cyberspace with creating an even better malteser cake recipe. Sorry Nigella, but I think I need to move on. My perfect malteser cake mission starts now! 


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Southport Natterjacks Seaside 10k

On Sunday I got my Personal Worst in a 10k - 1hr 8 minutes and 2 seconds. It's weird really because I have done 3 10k races now and I have got slower with each one. I can't make any excuses - I was already making up excuses before I went into the race. I'd been ill which had affected my training, I had a blister, it was too sunny. The only real reason I could find was that I didn't follow my training plan. (Yes, this was partly because I had the flu for a bit but even before that I was slacking off slightly.)

Anyway, in the end I was just relieved to finish the 10k. 6 miles. I have only ever ran this far on race days, but now I will try running it more regularly in training to work towards my half marathon goal. 

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So, the race itself (bar my terrible performance) had all the ingredients for a good race. Lovely weather, by the seaside. However, I was a bit disappointed with the course. It was a 2 lap course which in itself was pretty boring and it was such a tight start as there were no road closures so we had to run on the pavement. The route markings were also pretty unclear and as it looped back on itself so often there were times when I thought 'I could easily just turn around and skip out a whole kilometre' but of course I didn't (I would hope I'd be a lot faster than 1hr8 if I did!) The marshalls also didn't exactly look enthusiastic, except for the odd one who would remind you to keep to the right as the winners on their 2nd lap would be coming up shortly to overtake you. I felt like I was going around in circles after a while and I had to run over the same bridge 4 times and each time it hurt my legs a little bit more. I don't think I would enter this again, although the goodie bag was quite good. 

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Anyway, here's to my next challenge - the half marathon in March! If anything, this race has taught me that I reallyreallyreally need to stick to a training plan. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Autumn days

New coat

Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Vintage
Coat - Miss Selfridges
Bag - Asos

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On Saturday, I was in work in the morning which made me feel pretty rubbish. I hate working on Saturdays although it's only until 1 o'clock, and it's always worse when it's sunny. When I got home, we decided to go for a stroll down Lark Lane and around the park. We visited the lovely Onion Deli on Aigburth Road for the first time for coffee and cake and bought some pies to take home for tea. They were SO delicious. We also spied some of their huge bacon butties and cooked breakfasts and resolved to visit another day for breakfast. 

As you can see, I decided on the Miss Selfridge coat. It's just getting cold enough to wear it now and I love it. My mum bought me this poppy from a craft fair from Georgia P Designs  (part of the money goes to charity) which I will probably wear all year around (well, as long as I wear the coat for which is nearly all year in the UK!) as it looks so nice on the coat. I am always prone to losing my poppies that I buy for remembrance day so I will probably just wear this and make a donation instead.

I also wore my new shoes sent via MyVoucherCodes from Clarks. I love Clarks shoes as they are always so comfortable but have some more fashionable designs in now. My go to loafers are Clarks, as are my comfiest t-bars and now I can add these classic pumps to my collection. These shoes were £44.99 but using a MyVoucherCode would have made them only £35.99 as there is currently 20% off using a Clarks discount code! It's always worth checking out MyVoucherCodes if you've been eyeing up a big purchase, especially for winter investments like shoes, boots & coats. 


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Clockwse: Sefton Park, Lark Lane, carrot cake in Onion and my poppy.


Friday, 5 October 2012

400

Dog print peplum
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Topshop
Top - M&S
Cardigan - Debenhams
Necklace - Hobbs

This is my 400th blog post. Wow. I couldn't quite believe it when I noticed that in my blogger dashboard. That's a lot of nonsense posted over the last 4 years. 

This is what I wore on my day off this week after my run. It's my first foray into peplum tops. It's from Marks & Spencers petite section and at £19.50, it was more than what I would normally spend on a top (yeah yeah I'm a cheapskate I know, but I'd rather spend money on dresses or shoes than t-shirt tops) but I've worn it quite a lot now so I think I'l get my moneys worth. 

Paul & Joe nail varnish

I've also been wearing this Paul & Joe nail varnish in 'Oh, Holy Night' from the ornamental collection for the past week, although it's really chipped now. It's been a bit disappointing actually as it chipped less than 12 hours after applying it. The cute packaging makes up for it though? It was a Christmas gift off Scott, but I don't think I would buy one myself again. They cost about £10 and I'd rather spend that much on an OPI nail varnish. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

#OperationHideous




Me, after a hard 5 mile run down Otterspool Promenade and Sefton Park. 

#OperationHideous started when some random instagram user called Bangs (of Bangs and a Bun and Spikes & Heels) 'hideous' after she uploaded a photo of herself post-workout on to instagram. There does seem to be an expectation for women to look glamourous all the time, even after working out, perpetuated by photos of celebrities going to the gym looking fabulous. Bangs talks about it more eloquently than I ever could, but I really agreed with all the points she makes. I am a red-faced runner. Some people sweat, others  glow and I just go red. I hated doing PE in case I ended up all red-faced at school. Getting red and sweating just wasn't seen as 'ladylike'. Instead I stood on the sidelines, putting in the bare minimum effort. 

I've got over that now and see my red-face as a sign of achievement. Every time I run a bit further or it feels a bit easier, I get a real sense of achievement. I've got to the level now where I want a challenge to push me over the 6 mile/10k mark. On Sunday I have a 10k run in Southport, which I'm not aiming for a PB in, as I've been dreadfully slow lately, but I'm going to use it instead as my base for my half marathon training. 

Some sights on my run...

Looking glamourous while running is not my aim. I wear neon orange running shoes and skin tight lycra - it's hardly the height of fashion. However, the feeling that I get when I push myself a bit further, get a PB or do some exercise on a day when I haven't felt like it is well worth looking 'hideous'. 

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