Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Lifestyle | Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

My husband has to be the most difficult person to buy for at Christmas... ever! Unless you buy him socks he's really difficult to please because he buys most of the stuff he wants during the year, but this year he had his eye on one of these Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speakers.

We've had iPod docks in the past and I had actually planned to buy him a dock for Christmas but then realised that we'd be upgrading our iPhones in the New Year and chances are he will go for the iPhone 5, which is a different connect to the iPhone 4S, so I was worried that it'd just get left on the shelf if it didn't have an adapter. That's where the Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker comes in, because as the title suggests, you connect via bluetooth rather than having to dock it. 

I looked all over the place for one of these, but they were proving a very popular Christmas present because they were out of stock everywhere I went. I looked at other bluetooth speakers but they sounded a bit tinny and not anywhere as good quality as the Bose. 

The speaker itself is stylish and compact with the controls on the top and a charging dock which comes with it. Of course, once it's charged you can play it anywhere but I wouldn't say that it's something you'd want to carry in your bag all the time because it is heavy, but the weight is definitely justified when you hear the sound quality to come from such a little device. This Bose speaker is a bit of a pocket rocket as far as volume is concerned... I was amazed at how loud it was. Think of hi-fi kind of loudness to the point where at it's loudest you struggle to hear someone talk in the same room. It has to be heard to be fully appreciated so if you're ever near a Bose store, go and have a listen.

I think the girl did good this year with his presents, normally they're not very exciting but it's safe to say Jason absolutely loves this. I'd like to thank Halifax who gave me an Amazon voucher to go towards buying something for someone special this Christmas as part of their 'Giving Extra' to someone special campaign. 

What's your favourite gadget?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Bath and Body | Treacle Moon Christmas Bath Treats

I've posted about Treacle Moon products quite a few times now, I think they're amazing value for money and they smell gorgeous. So when my friend bought me some of their bath/shower gel I couldn't wait to have some festive baths.

I know cinnamon can be something you either love or you hate, I personally love the smell; it reminds me of Christmas and really helps me relax and feel cosy when I'm in a bath. Warm Cinnamon Nights is more of a sweet sort of smell, the cinnamon isn't overpowering it actually smells a little bit like sweet shop sweets. That Vanilla Moment is a really beautiful creamy ice cream kind of smell, more of a younger persons kind of vanilla rather than more mature; quite different to the vanilla you find in The Body Shop.

I could literally fill my bathroom with Treacle Moon products and I'm dying to try their candy jar limited edition products. Tesco often have some offers on like 2 for £5 but even at £2.99 each I think they're a bargain because they last for ages!

What are your favourite Christmas Bath products?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Nails | Ted Baker Beauty 'Golden Girl' Christmas Nails

I've seen all sorts of fancy Christmas nail designs just recently, and although they look amazing I know not everyone can afford to have that done, and to be totally honest I prefer a simple nail look. I don't have long talons I have average length nails so doing intricate designs can prove a little bit difficult!

This nail duo by Ted Baker provides the perfect nail look for the festive season, you could use the high shimmer Golden Girl on every nail or you could use Totally Twinky for the accent nail like I did.

Both polishes are so easy to apply, if you're not the neatest at nail painting then not to worry because it wipes away easy and doesn't stain your fingers. I found that both polishes needed at least 3 coats for an opaque look but if you just wanted a bit of glitter on top of a normal nail polish then one coat of Totally Twinky would provide sufficient sparkle. £8.50 for 2 polishes is great value in my opinion, the attractive packaging would also make the set a great little gift.

Are you sorted for sparkly nails this Christmas?

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Jewellery | Happy Birthday to me - Tiffany & Co Necklace

If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter you will know that I got back from London today after a night away with my husband, the trip was mainly to visit Warner Bros Studios where Harry Potter was filmed but on Monday night we took a train into central London and went to Selfridges. He'd actually given me some money for our anniversary back in October and I knew what I wanted to buy with it, I was just waiting for the opportune moment...

I'm not a big jewellery wearer on a day to day basis, I generally just wear my wedding and engagement ring and that's it but this will take pride of place around my neck. I've always wanted a necklace with the Tiffany writing on and I've finally got one. They're not cheap but I think they're a timeless piece of jewellery, Tiffany is a bit of an iconic brand I think and I feel so lucky to own a piece of jewellery by them.Obviously purchases like this aren't a regular occurrence for me, but it is my birthday on Friday and like I say it's partly an Anniversary present from Jason.

Do you own anything by Tiffany?


Saturday, 30 November 2013


I've had my eye on this for a while now (since last Christmas probably!) and I've only just bought it for myself this week. Q&A a Day is exactly what it suggest, a book with a different question which you answer every day for 5 years (the same question on the same day every year, so you can see how you change). I don't keep a diary, but I used to so I thought it would be nice to start something similar again but without the commitment of writing a lengthy entry every day. 

Q&A a Day £8.26 Amazon

It's actually not as big as I expected, it's about the same size as my hand but big enough to be able to write comfortably in it. The design was something that really caught my eye, it's like traditional book style with gold around the edge of the page. You can start filling it in at anytime during the year but obviously the beginning of the book starts with January 1st. 

Although I have bought this for myself, I think it would be a great Christmas present for anyone who you are struggling with... those that tend to have everything. I think it'll be really interesting to fill this in and look back over the next 5 years and remember how I was feeling on that particular day!

Do you think I should start filling it in now or wait till January 1st?

Friday, 29 November 2013

Home Scenting | Christmas Yankee Candle Mini Haul

It's 1st December on Sunday and I'm left wondering where this year has gone, it doesn't seem like 5 minutes ago that I was pulling out all the Christmas decorations and I'm getting ready to do it all again! I went into a new shop near me today called 'Montague Mills' and it's the only place I've ever known to sell a full range of Yankee Candles within a 25 mile radius of my house so as you can imagine I spent a while smelling all the fragrances I'd never tried before. I decided to go with some Christmassy ones in sampler form so that I knew I wouldn't get bored of just the one fragrance in jar form.

Sugared Apple (£1.35), Red Apple Wreath (£1.35) and Fireside Treats (£1.70)

I have a bag full of wax tarts which seem to last absolutely ages and I end up getting bored before the wax has actually all melted away (and I don't put much into the burner!) so these samplers are much better as I have 2 holders so I can have a choice of 2 without breaking the bank. All three of these smell really festive; I have Sugared Apple burning as I type this and it is really nice! You can buy these three and lots of other samplers from Yankee Doodle (which is where I usually get mine) and they always have different offers on; they also sell holders for samplers that don't break the bank... once you start with the samplers you won't go back!!

What's your favourite Yankee Candle scent?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Hair | Label M Powder Pink Hair Spray Dye

This is only one of a few times that you will have seen me show my full on face on my blog, which seems daft really because it's a beauty/lifestyle blog but I've always been way too shy and pretty much hated the way I look so I've never wanted to post pictures of a full face. After losing a bit of weight, I feel a little more confident and I decided to review a pink hair dye that I've been experimenting with just lately.

Bleach London products have done their rounds and they provided various bloggers with some funky coloured highlights and dip dyes. I was recently sent a bottle of Label M Powder Pink Spray*; specially released for London Fashion Week, this spray in-wash out spray dye is designed to give you a pop of colour whilst giving your a soft matte finish and a light hold. Label M is part of the Toni & Guy brand which is celebrating 50 years in business this year!

Application is so easy, you just spray it in 10-15cm from your hair wherever you fancy (I obviously just went for the ends) and then you can either leave it or brush it out a little bit to make it more natural. The spray actually makes your hair a little bit straw-like because it's also texturising spray, ideal if you have fine flyaway hair. My hair is really thick so the texturising thing wasn't a big plus for me because it meant I had to add a little bit of serum to the ends of my hair to make it feel more natural. However, the longer you wear it the better it gets and if you like the ruffled short of do then this would be perfect without having to do much brushing/styling. 

I have mid blonde hair and the pink was noticeable but not shocking, it's baby pink so quite subtle on my hair but obviously the lighter your hair is (ie. platinum) the more pink your hair will be and the darker your hair I would imagine the spray would come out more of a pinky/purple kind of shade. Although I have shown it applied to straight hair, I think this could really work if you curl your hair with irons as you could add the colour and also use the spray as a hair spray to hold your style in place!

This product is amazing for a bit of fun hair colour but without the commitment of it being permanent, it literally washes out after one wash so if you're not keen on it you can just wash it straight out. I think this is a better option than semi-permanent colours as there's still an element of commitment with those whereas with this you could have it in one night and have your hair back natural in the space of time it takes to wash your hair!

Have you ever been tempted to dye your hair a daring colour?


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Weightloss | Slimming World week 10 & 2 stone award

It's been a little while since I last posted about my Slimming World journey, mainly because I have been so busy but secondly because I couldn't really think of anything to say without repeating myself. But tonight I hit another milestone so I thought I better write a little update and maybe give some inspiration to those who are looking to lose a little bit before Christmas (yes, you could still do it, there's 4 more weigh ins). I lost 2.5lb to give me my next award...

So in 10 weeks I've lost 2 stone, which averages out at just over 2.5lb per week which is pretty good considering I aimed for 2lb per week which would have given me 2 stone in time for Christmas. Anyway that's enough gloating for one night, I still have a long way to go until I hit my target so I'll leave you with a few things that I've changed in my life since I started Slimming World.

I have veg or salad with every single meal; granted not the 1/3 that Slimming World recommend ALL the time but most of the time I will have a sizable portion on my plate which stops me eating more of the higher calorie foods.

I think before I eat, when it's something high syn I think is it really worth it... even if it's just a bite, Jason will often say it doesn't matter. But it does!!!!

I have recently discovered Weight Watchers dessert recipe yoghurts, still a yoghurt but they have little pieces of soft biscuity bits in which are supposed to be part of a 'tart' which makes it feel like much more of a 'naughty' pudding than it is because they are in fact free!!

I plan, I decide what I'm going to eat in advance so I don't have to go hunting in the kitchen and risk picking up stuff that I shouldn't!!

I never eat takeaways, not even as a treat. I don't even crave them if I'm honest and I don't want that feeling of guilt afterwards.

I'm so determined, more determined than I've ever been before. I don't enjoy being fat (and 2 stone later, I still am!) but I know that I'm taking the necessary steps to change that and hopefully by May next year I'll be close to my target if not at it!!

I drink more water, not every day but if I'm feeling fat or bloated I have a couple of pints which flushes me through and I seem to get rid of the water weight. 

The key thought for me is... 'Nothing tastes as good as being slim will feel'


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Makeup | Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual

It's one thing loving makeup but a total other thing actually knowing how to apply it, like many beauty bloggers, I am not a makeup artists and I have never been on any kind of training to show me how to apply makeup. The majority of my skills have come from other blogs and also YouTube tutorials, however last year I treat myself to a few makeup books and one of them was this Makeup Manual by Bobbi Brown so I thought I'd give you a sneaky look and an idea of what's in it.

 Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual £13.00 Amazon

Obviously written by the makeup artist wonder, Bobbi Brown, this book contains advice and tutorials which would suit makeup beginners to those who are looking at more advanced makeup application. There are twelve chapters beginning with a little bit of background information about Bobbi Brown right to a list of memorable makeup moments from some of the most famous makeup artists in history. 

For me personally some of the stuff is a little in the realms of the obvious but there's also some really interesting bits of information and tips that I didn't know before. One of the first chapters has pages of information about the equipment you might need as a makeup artist and also how to look after that equipment and it progresses on to basic makeup application such as how to apply foundation properly and so on (which may seem obvious to some but I'm sure you'll agree that there are plenty of people in this world who could do with some tips).

Lots of pictures of pretty, smashed up makeup which seems a crying shame given how expensive Bobbi Brown stuff is!!! But all in the name of makeup artistry I suppose. It's also not all just about makeup, there are some parts about skincare which I found very interesting. 

After the basics and towards the middle of the book is where the tutorials start, there's literally everything from how to apply lipstick to how to define and shape your eyebrows, through to more advanced makeup application with bold eye looks and how to make colour work for you (and your clients, if you're an MUA).

Chapter nine is then about being a makeup artist, how you can break into the industry and advice on how to get along (coming from a tycoon like Bobbi Brown I'd say it was some pretty sound advice). I know this won't be to everyone's taste because you don't all want to be a makeup artist but I thought it was an interesting read nevertheless!

I'm not an avid reader of books in general but I really enjoy looking through this, I definitely don't regret buying it one little bit. If you are into makeup and you find the industry quite interesting then I'd definitely suggest that you either buy this or pop it on your Christmas list. Also if you know anyone who is envious of your makeup application skills, this would be an ideal gift. 

Do you own a makeup book? Would you like to see a similar post on the Jemma Kidd Makeup Masterclass book?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Hair | Hair Extensions - Something for everyone

From short and straight to long and curly, choosing hair extensions that suit your hair type isn’t always simple. With hundreds of different shades and materials to choose from, the seemingly simple talk of picking hair extensions can take weeks, even months, to master.

Today's post is from someone who knows exactly what they're talking about when it comes to hair extensions so read on to learn from the masters – the creators of Hershesons hair accessories – about how to pick the perfect hair extensions for your hair type and budget.

Synthetic Hair vs. Natural Hair Extensions


Hair extensions come in two different materials: synthetic and natural hair. While natural hair is obviously the more realistic looking of the two, synthetic hair is an excellent choice that can often look almost exactly the same as real human hair.

Synthetic hair is made of several different materials and comes in a range of quality levels. Cheap synthetic hair extensions tend to look somewhat artificial and rough – not a good look, unless they’re only used for temporary extensions or events.

Human hair is the more expensive option of the two, and tends to achieve the most realistic result. Speak to your stylist about the best option for you to learn about the different lifespans and looks of human and synthetic hair extensions.

Clip-In Extensions vs. Weaves vs. Pre-Bonded Extensions


Hair extensions come in three main types: clip-in extensions, full or partial waves, and pre-bonded extensions. Of the three, clip-in hair extensions are the easiest to install and remove, but tend to look more obvious than other hair extensions.

Weaves are knotted into your hair using tight, strong weaves close to the scalp. As these knots can be quite thick, weft hair extensions are recommended for women with thick, dark hair.

Finally, pre-bonded hair extensions are attached to your natural hair using a form of glue known as keratin. These discrete hair extensions are easy to maintain and tend to last longer than other hair extensions – in some cases, for longer than six months.

Choosing Hair Extensions that Fit in Your Budget


Hair extensions can cost a little or a lot, depending on your needs. Thousands of pre-bonded hair strands could cost several hundred pounds – and several hours in your local stylist’s salon – while clip-in hair extensions can be applied in mere minutes.

Choose hair extensions that fit both your budget and your requirements. If you’re in need of extra length and volume for a costume party of special event, you might not need to spend hundreds of pounds on pre-bonded extensions – a clip in fringe from Hershesons is all you’ll need.

On the other hand, if you’d like to add length and volume that lasts for months, it’s a good idea to invest in high quality, reliable hair extensions. Your hair is a vital part of your look – give it the time and investment that it needs!

sponsored guest post

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Weightloss | Slimming World Week 7

I'm a bit late with my post this week, been at work since 9am this morning and I've literally just got back into the house! I didn't have high hopes for this week and I actually expected a gain so as long as it wasn't too drastic I wouldn't have been too surprised. It's the first week since starting in September that I haven't lost weight, this weeks result was...


Which is fine. I was more pleasantly surprised by the fact that I hadn't gained. I know a maintain isn't great but the pace I've lost weight sort of weighs itself out and I'm still on track for 2 stone by Christmas so that's absolutely fine by me. I could think of 10 excuses as to why I haven't lost this week, one of which was that I went to Betty's in York and it's also 'the wrong time of the month' so I'm feeling quite bloated and a fat anyway!

I have eaten some nice things this week though and I'm going into the next week with a new found motivation because I definitely don't want another maintain and especially not a gain next week!! Here's what I loved eating this week (I won't include Betty's because we all know how nice naughty foods are!!!)

Ham, 2 fried eggs (fried with Fry Light), SW chips, peppers and cucumber

Such a simple yet really nice meal, so easy to make aswell!

 Orange Segments

I usually don't buy oranges in the supermarket but I got a few in the bag of fruit I got last week as I was slimmer of the week and I really enjoyed eating them. I've also got back into eating satsumas, I've got 2 to take to work with me tomorrow.

This coming week is going to be a real challenge for me because I'm back at my old office for 2 weeks which means I have to be even more strict with planning so I don't go hungry! I've already made a shepherds pie for tomorrow so I can take some in a box. I'm hoping for a good loss next tuesday and I hope all my planning actually goes to plan!


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Bath & Body | Imperial Leather Foamburst Bodywash

My mum has bought this ever since I was about 11/12 when it first came out and I've liked it as a shower gel ever since. They've recently brought out some new fragrances out and I got this one in Boots when they were on offer for £2.

straight from the pump

lather with the tiniest bit of water

If you like foam/lather/bubbles then this will definitely be your bag, you literally only need to press the pump very slightly to get enough out to cater for your whole body. It comes out like a gel but quickly starts to foam on contact with you hand and 'bursts' when it comes into contact with water. 

It is a little more expensive than some would be prepared to spend on a high street body wash but it is more luxurious than ordinary shower gels which give you lather but not to this extent. The honey and almond milk smells really nice, really comforting and great for unwinding in a bath. I tend to use this with a shower puff because the lather seems to be even better. 

If it's ever on offer or you're looking for an indulgent bath product without breaking the bank then this is for you. Full price is always around the £3 mark but like I said, I got it for £2 a bit ago. 

Do you have a favourite shower gel or do you buy whatever is on offer?

Friday, 1 November 2013

Makeup | Yves Saint Laurent Shocking Mascara with before & after photos

The other night I had the urge to treat myself and was debating over which high end mascara to go for as I'd run out of my Benefit They're Real and the little samples I'd got from various gift with purchase bits. After Googling different mascara brands and trawling various different blogs for before and after photos I finally decided on YSL Shocking Mascara.

Yves Saint Laurent Shocking Mascara £23.50 Debenhams


This mascara takes some getting used to, the amount of product that goes on is unbelievable, probably a little too much because it seems to clump very easily. I think the wand is very much to blame for this problem; it's helix-cut which means that you can load lots onto the brush but I think it means that it doesn't brush on as well.

There's no denying that it gives great volume and adds length but it doesn't separate the lashes as well as I would like. I think application of this mascara is going to take time to perfect, I think I'm going to need another clean mascara wand to brush the lashes out once I've applied enough product. I do think it's more of a night time kind of mascara unless you also like bold eye looks during the day. 

Once it's on and applied properly the staying power of YSL Shocking is pretty impressive, it lasted me all night on a very drunken saturday without smudging or flaking around my eyes but it's really easy to get off when cleansing which is always good!

I'm not keen on doing these kind of 'meh' reviews because I'm neither recommending it nor advising against it which I don't like doing but I have told you what I do and don't like about it! As for likelihood of repurchase, I'm pretty sure I won't repurchase. I had a small sample size Lancome Hypnose mascara a few months ago, I much preferred that. How it applied was much better, I just wanted to try something new which is why I went for this YSL one. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Weightloss | Slimming World Week 6

This week is going to be quite a short and sweet post, purely because I don't really have anything to show you in terms of recipes a) because I've not had anything different and b) I have forgotten to take photos! I didn't have high expectations this week because I got very drunk for the first time in 5 years on Saturday night which then resulted in 6 chicken nuggets off the buffet on Sunday because I worked all day and felt pretty shocking!! Despite the things I thought would really damage my weightloss I got on the scales in group tonight to discover...

-5lb... WHAT?!

Not that I'm complaining in any way, shape or form but considering I had about 40 syns worth of stuff on Saturday and 18 syns worth on Sunday I really didn't expect that at all!! But having said that every single other meal has been completely on plan with superfree and all that. 

I do believe that having superfree is the key to my weight losses, I religiously fill at least 1/3 of my plate with salad or veg which means that I put less of the higher calorie stuff on my plate and therefore I'm still eating as much food but not as many calories! I think people think that they can still lose lots of weight just by having 'free' foods which are meat & potatoes (+ other things, obviously) but they often are disappointed with weightlosses because they're still taking in too many calories. What I'd probably say is that if you don't put superfree on your plate at all you may as well count 1/3 of your plate as syns, because thats not how Slimming World works. 

I know salad and veg can be really boring but I tend not to have lettuce much anymore I have lots of different coloured peppers with cucumber and I love the pre chopped tins of roasting veg which you can get in Tesco for £1.55... probably slightly more expensive but it takes away the 'hassle'. 

Next week I'm hoping to keep up the momentum and lose 2lb, I only have 6.5lb to go to my 2 stone award which is what I was hoping for in time for Christmas. I reckon I can do that!!!

Due to the lack of photos this week I'll leave you a photo of me, dressed as a Mexican.


Current Haircare | John Frieda Blonde Range

After finishing my bottle of Alberto Balsam I thought it would be quite appropriate to review the John Frieda Blonde range, if I went in Boots and I had to pick a bottle of shampoo which was a little bit more luxurious than the others, my choice would always be from the John Frieda range. Obviously I have blonde hair which is why I chose this particular range but you probably already know that there is a range for brunettes as well as red heads and there's also the John Frieda Full Repair range which I have also tried.

The main reason why  John Frieda is my choice of 'high street luxury' hair care is because it's like a salon standard treatment but without such a heafty price tag. The shampoo leaves my hair feeling clean, the conditioner makes it easier to manage and the serum is the perfect finishing touch to keep it from going frizzy. 

I double cleanse my hair with the shampoo, I have quite a lot of hair now (it's both long and thick!) so I think 2 applications does the job properly, I still only apply conditioner to the ends and I leave that on to work while I wash the rest of my body. I then apply the serum to the ends of my hair before drying and then another application after drying and straightening to just give it a final smooth out (only a teeny bit each time, you don't need to use a lot!).

Since using the Sheer Blonde range I've had a fair few people ask me if I've had my hair coloured (which I haven't, it's been almost 6 weeks since I had my last highlights done), so the 'highlight activating' claim seems to have some truth in it!! It doesn't weigh my hair down and it keeps it feeling really nice and the smell lasts until I wash my hair again. Like I've said in previous posts, hair care like this isn't essential to every day life but if you can afford it then I would say use it! If I had to pick one of these products as a 'must have' it would be the Frizz Ease Serum because it really keeps frizz to a minimum. 

You can buy all three of these products in your local Boots/Superdrug/Tesco, the shampoo and conditioner* are £5.59 each and the serum is £6.29. There's usually offers on these in most places so keep an eye out if you were thinking of trying them, at the moment Boots has a 2 for £8 offer on!

Have you used anything from the John Frieda ranges before?

Monday, 28 October 2013

Winter Essentials | Blistex Relief Cream

As far as seasons go, I much prefer autumn/winter to spring/summer because I love wrapping up in cosy stuff and this years colours have got me really looking forward to wearing plum shade lip products! The only thing I hate about autumn/winter is the state it leaves my lips in, if I'm not careful I end up with dry, cracked lips which are an absolute pain to apply any kind of lipstick to! Vaseline and products like that are great for protecting your lips against the cold but they are no good at actually treating your lips once the cold has bitten. You need something with some kind of moisturising or medicated properties, Vaseline and the like are just barriers, they sit on your lips without penetrating any deeper. 

Blistex Relief Cream £2.59 Superdrug

Cracked lips can get really painful if you don't treat them and they are frequently exposed to cold weather. Blistex is ideal to use before you go to bed because you coat your lips and go to sleep so the medication can get to work without disturbing it by eating or drinking. It looks very white when first applied but once you've rubbed it into your lips you can't see it. It leaves your lips feeling a little bit tingly as it contains peppermint oil but it's nothing unpleasant. 

It contains camphor to help soothe your lips and also lanolin which helps to protect them from further damage. You can also use this to treat cold sores; I haven't used it for this as I never get cold sores (lucky me!) so I can't comment on how effective it is for that but I can say that within 3 days you can tell a difference in how your lips feel. My husband had a really bad crack on his bottom lip; nothing was helping so I told him to use this and it cleared up completely within 1 week! 

For £2.59 I don't think you can go wrong with this, it's so handy to have in your drawer in case you need it and it doesn't cost a fortune. It's a real no-frills product, the packaging isn't pretty and there's no gimmicks to it, it just works... and that's all you need to know :)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Weightloss | Slimming World Week 5 + Easy Tomato Speed Soup Recipe

If you've been following my Slimming World posts you'll know that every week I've been getting some pretty good weight losses, mostly due to careful planning and adding lots of superfree foods to every meal. This week has been somewhat different; mainly due to stress and a very busy weekend in the pub. We did our first 3 course meal for a wedding on Saturday and I spent most of last week panicking about it and not giving my food much thought. I didn't plan any of my meals (can tell this as I don't have many meal photos to show you), it's been a case of seeing what's in the cupboard and chucking something together. 

This week I lost 0.5lb 

I know it's 'still a loss' and all that but it's not the kind of loss I want every week, I haven't enjoyed my food enough to have lost so little! I'm still more than on track for losing 2 stone for Christmas but this minor 'hiccup' has given me food for thought. I need to go back to planning properly and writing everything down. I need to make sure I MAKE time to put something in the slow cooker at the weekend so I have something to eat and I don't eat crap out of necessity. This weekend I had cheesecake, sausage roll, white bread and a whole load of other high syn stuff, not because I wanted it as such, but because I didn't have time to go home and prepare something and I REALLY needed to eat. 

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I'm going to lose 2lb + this week because I'm going to eat properly and get lots of superfree in again. I'll leave you with some of my food highlights from this week...

 Tomato Speed Soup - so simple!

Tin chopped tomatoes
Tin carrots (drained)
Tin baked beans
1 large pickled onion (or a few small ones)
Chicken stock (I used around 350ml)

Boil it all up in a pan for about 10/15 minutes then blitz it with a hand blender! 

Chicken Salad with Kraft Light Garlic & Herb Dressing (1 syn) & Cheese pasta (6 x Laughing cow extra light cheeses HEXA)

Cadbury Highlights (2 syns for any flavour) and Pink n' Whites (2.5 syns)

I have just had Diet Coke Chicken for my tea and that is hands down my favourite Slimming World meal, I've actually missed having 1/3 of my plate with superfree, I leave off the lettuce a bit now because I got bored of chasing it round my plate so I just use cucumber, peppers & celery. This week I've actually bought a baking tin from Tesco which has lots of superfree veg in it and it's ready to just shove in the oven, it doesn't have any oil or dressing on it so it's totally free and makes getting your superfree hassle-free!

I might be disappointed with my small loss this week but I'm still loving Slimming World and I'm motivated as ever, which is always good :)


Monday, 21 October 2013


I'd calmed down a little on the Yankee Candle front but when I saw that they were doing a Salted Caramel fragrance I had to have at least a wax tart of it! I know there are lots of different scents which smell good enough to eat but seriously this one is a whole other ball game. 

Yankee Candle Salted Caramel Wax Tart £1.95 Amazon

It came through the door in a little white jiffy bag and I found the bag half chewed by Jasper. He never bothers with the mail normally but the smell of this was so strong and sweet, even when in the jiffy bag, that he obviously couldn't resist investigating!

It smells exactly like salted caramel and really evokes a sweet craving in me (which admittedly isn't ideal given I'm doing Slimming World). I will say that if you're not into sweet scents (like my husband) that you probably won't like this because it is sickly sweet but for me gorgeous at the same time. 

This is the first scent to make me want to buy a bigger jar, good job Father Christmas is coming soon!!

What is your favourite Yankee scent?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Weightloss | Slimming World Week 4 & Diet Coke Chicken Recipe

So, I've just got home after my 4th weigh in at Slimming World and I'm pretty pleased with myself this week because I'm still 100% on plan, I only went over syns by 0.5 on one day and I've still been getting superfree foods into every meal. This weeks result was...


I am really impressed by that because not only is it a really good weightloss it also pushed me well into my 1 stone award and got me slimmer of the week (I've had slimmer of the week twice already since I joined!)

I don't like to gloat because I know how hard it is to lose weight and I really feel for those who find it especially difficult, I don't want to seem like I'm smug or anything, especially not in group. But the truth is I'm actually really not smug or THAT pleased with myself, well I am pleased with myself obviously but I am determined not to get complacent because that's when it all goes wrong. I know I've got a long way to go to get to my target weight (which isn't actually set yet!) and I'm determined to do it this time without losing my head and letting it all go down the pan. I've done it too many times and I'm not prepared to do it again! 

Anyway... onto what I've been enjoying this week:

Diet Coke Chicken - Mention this to anyone and they'll say ergh why would you pour diet coke onto chicken? But it is actually really REALLY nice. I'd say it's like a cross between BBQ chicken and some kind of chinese style chicken dish. Credit to Leanne from Do Not Refreeze who gave me this recipe.

Chicken (cut into strips or diced)
100g Passata
330ml Can of Diet Coke
Worcester Sauce
Soy Sauce
2 cloves of garlic (or garlic powder)
1 chicken stock cube/pot
Whatever herbs and spices you like

- So first of all spray a deep frying pan or wok with Fry Light
- Add the chicken & onion and fry until the chicken is sealed on all sides
- Pour in the full can of Diet Coke along with the passata, stock cube/pot, garlic and herbs
- Mix it all together
- Simmer on a low-medium heat for around 30 minutes. This reduces it to make the sauce thicker and more of a 'sticky' texture. It looks REALLY thin when you first pour everything in but don't worry it will reduce.
- Once the sauce has thickened take it off the heat and serve with whatever sides you fancy; it's good with rice, chips, salad, veg... anything really! You can also add peppers, mushrooms etc. into the mix when you fry the chicken and onions if you fancy!

Apparently this also works well with Diet Fanta/Tango although I've never tried it, has anyone done it with that?

Butternut Squash Chips - Butternut Squash is a pain to cut, the skin is so thick but I think the results are worth it. I love chips made in the Actifry and by using Butternut squash you are getting more superfree which = better weightlosses!

Spaghetti Bolognese - This looks a little bit bland I know but it tasted so good! It's all free and I added lots of tomatoes and onions to get some superfree. I could have maybe done with a little more superfree but I didn't know what to put with it, having anything else would have felt a bit wrong I think! 

This week I'm determined to make some soup, I've been saying I will from day one so this week has to be the week because I need to mix it up a little bit in order to stay focused. I've bought the latest Slimming World mag so I'm going to look in there for more meal ideas. Next week I'd like another 2lb off, I'm well on my way to reaching my mini-goal of 2 stone by Christmas but like I said I can't afford to take my foot off the gas. 

One thing I will say about this week is that saying 'no' is making me feel so good. I know that sounds daft but I'm offered biscuits and other high syn things on a daily basis and I have got well into the habit of saying no because although you may think 'that little bit won't hurt' it WILL and it leads onto another 'little bit' of something else which then reflects when you get weighed!!

If you're on Slimming World or you have been before, what is your favourite meal? I'd like some more inspiration!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Personal Hygiene | Bath & Body Works Hand Gel

I know most of us are suckers for the stuff that Americans can get hold of across the pond, that we cannot here in the UK. Bath & Body Works anti-bacterial hand gel has done its rounds on UK blogs for some strange reason. For some even stranger reason, I went and bought it from eBay. 

It comes in lots of different 'scents' and for whatever reason chose Japanese Cherry Blossom. It doesn't smell remotely like cherry in my opinion, it just smells like alcohol (which is essentially what hand gel is!). The bottle is absolutely tiny, I feel well and truely ripped off paying almost £3 for something that is around £1 in Boots/Superdrug/Tesco and I bought it purely because it's from Bath & Body Works. 

Funny how my mind works at times, this is a big reminder that not everything that comes out of America is all singing and dancing; this is very bog standard and really not work spending £3 on. In the US this is probably the cheapest of the cheap in hand sanitisers, and I bought it all because someone made it look pretty and desirable on their blog; the power of persuasion!

I think I'll be waiting for my trip to Florida to get hold of any other 'American must haves'.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Home Decor | Instagram Magnets with Stickygram

Instagram print companies have been doing their rounds since Instagram burst onto our phones a couple of years ago and I've always fancied having some of mine printed because the digital age often means that we never end up developing some of the good photos we take. Naturally when I was contacted by Stickygram I was happy to accept a set of 9 fridge magnets from my collection of Instagram photos. 

$14.99 for a set of 9 (free worldwide delivery)

If I'm totally honest I struggled a bit to find some photos that I'd like to print out because I tend to take pictures of a whole lot of nothing!! But I managed to find 9 photos; a few of Jasper, my friend Hayley's little baby boy Thomas, one of me on my graduation day, our hotel in Kefaloniaa photo of me and Louise from Sprinkle of Glitter at IMATS and a photo of me, Jason and Jasper together.

Until about a week ago I didn't have any magnets on my fridge apart from one from Blackpool and it did look a bit bare so I've jazzed it up a bit with my Slimming World certificates and the Stickygram magnets. The magnet prints have come out very clear and they're the perfect size to stick a few on your fridge.

If you would like to follow me on Instagram my user name is beautybutterfly, I do take some photos of some pointless stuff but you never know, you might learn something!


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Makeup | Seventeen Metallic Eyes in Wild Nude

I'm a total sucker for any kind of special offer, especially in Boots. I'll always put my Advantage Card into one of the kiosks to see what special offers they have for me. Currently the machine gives me a voucher for a half price Seventeen 'Metallics' cream eye shadow or Eyeshadow trio. I opted for a Metallics one because I don't own many cream shadows (the only other one I actually use is MAC Paint Pot in 'Morning Frost). I chose 'Wild Nude' because nudes/browns are the colours I'm most confident with applying.

Direct Sunlight

What strikes me immediately about this product is how soft it is, I didn't expect it to be as easy to load onto a brush because other cream products that I've used have been a lot harder and not as easy to apply without it dragging a bit on my eyelid. The softness and high pigmentation means that these are a great way to ease yourself into using cream eye products. I tend to use it as a base for a nude eye look because I don't think it has enough staying power to use as a shade on its own; it just seems to slide off.

You can play with the intensity a little, I like to be quite sparing but as I say the pigmentation is good so you could use heavily for a more intense metallic look. It looks more bronze in the pot than it is, once it's on skin it does look more like a shimmery nude. Not great for a day look (I don't think) because it is quite high shimmer but for a bit of night time sparkle it's perfect. 

For £3.99 I think this is great value and the packaging is really nice (glass bottom, plastic top). These come in 6 different shades; if I'm totally honest this is the only one I'll be buying because I don't like the idea of high shimmer greens, purples and blues... I think I'd be at risk of being a bit Pat Butcher-esque. Some people can pull it off but I doubt very much that I'd be able to.

What are your favourite cream eye products? I'm looking to try some more!

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