Saturday, 17 February 2018

Blind Date with a Book for Valentine’s Day

So yesterday while I was in town, I popped into my local community book shop. I had a browse of the shelves but nothing was really catching my eye. Luckily I was directed to their mystery books, packaged in brown paper with little clues to what kind of book may be enclosed. I thought this idea was such a good one, and also went well with the Valentine’s theme. Of course I didn’t know what book I chose to begin with, but after reading a few of the clues in the book selection, this one seemed most fitting to my taste.

As you can see it’s described as a chick lit with romantic plot twists and a countryside relocation. It also didn’t sound like I had read it before, but it grabbed my attention. Today I decided to unwrap the book package (after photographing it of course!) and I was thrilled to see a Jill Mansell novel, I’m aware of this author but I’m yet to read any of her work. The girly pink cover is so pretty, and I can see that it fits the Valentine’s theme perfectly.

I will include this book in one of my recent reads post, once I’ve finished and reviewed it. On the day I picked up a few other books from different charity shops. Let me know if you enjoyed this twist on a regular book haul post. I thought the community book shop did well with this idea!

Have you heard of blind date with a book? 
Would you like to try it too? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Valentine’s Heart Design Iced Sponge Cake

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! So following my last themed baking post, here’s one more for you all. I had some cherries to use up from making scones, and after having a little think, I decided to decorate a cake with a heart shape. To make the sponge cake, I used a recipe from the Easy Peasy Sweetie Pie recipe book by Mary Contini. The recipe is called can’t go wrong cake where you weigh three large eggs and then have the same weight in butter, sugar and also flour.

For the icing I used the vanilla buttercream recipe from The Hungry Student Easy Baking book. I halved the measurements for a smaller cake and the icing seemed too runny really, but when it set, it was a delicious extra element to a good sponge cake. As you can see I decorated with cherries too!

Have you done any valentine’s blog posts? 
If you have let me know in the comments! :-) Xx

Friday, 9 February 2018

Valentine’s Heart Shaped Scones

So Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and I wanted to share one of my recent bakes perfect for this holiday. In January I had a good brainstorm for baking projects leading up into spring, for the past couple of years for Valentine’s I’ve done something themed, and last year I did mini heart shaped shortbread. So sticking with the heart shaped theme, I went down the scone route. I was familiar with the basic scone recipe and therefore able to spend time making them into a neat hearts with a cookie cutter.

I did consider dusting them with icing sugar, as I’ve seen that looks quite effective but instead I brushed a little bit of milk onto the hearts, so they turned the tops golden brown in the oven, which I think was enough. I used a recipe from Cakes & Cookies for Beginners by Usborne Cookery School recipe book, and it’s a very reliable resource. The recipe produced six scones, perfect for a mini tea party, or smaller gathering. I’ve actually got a few more themed blog posts coming up for Valentine’s, hopefully I’ll get them up in time. 

Let me know how you are celebrating! 
Have a great weekend! :-) Xx

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Recent Reads Reviewed #5

The Lauras by Sara Taylor - 5/5

I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway last year, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t like anything I had previously read which was exciting, and the atmosphere of the book was done nicely. The book is based on a mother and teen road trip. It was a little dark in places, and outside my comfort zone, but I felt truly captivated throughout.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur – 3/5

This book first came into my radar through the blogging community, it’s a very highly spoke about poetry collection, talking about love, loss, femininity and more. It’s broken into four chapters, the hurting, the loving and so on. My opinion might be a bit unusual, as so many people loved this book, I couldn’t seem to connect to it. The poems were quite personal to the author, which I liked, and I flew through the book in about two to three hours. It was good but didn’t blow me away.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo - 5/5

This was my second time reading this book, as I love it so much. I go back to it every time I want to get new ideas relating to the topic of tidying and being more minimal. There are so many insightful tips, and an understanding into how we accumulate clutter. I think I will have a copy of this for always!

Makeup: The Ultimate Guide by Rae Morris - 4/5

I was gifted this book a while back, and last year I finally finished it cover to cover. I thought the make-up tips were pretty good, and each tutorial had a step by step guide with photos. What made this book for me was the outstanding photography. It did lose one point down to some of the looks seemed a bit unattainable. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading through it.

The Invitation by Lucy Foley - 5/5

Another lucky Goodreads win, I thoroughly enjoyed this seductive and cryptic love tale. Set in Italy, and a yacht headed for the Cannes, the surroundings were described very well, and made the story for me. The element of mystery and overall writing style was amazing. I’d never read anything quite like it!

Do any of these books interest you?
What have you been reading lately? :-) Xx

Sunday, 28 January 2018

The Brazilian Café Review & Tour

Happy Sunday – today I wanted to share a lovely café I visited in December located in Redcar. It was the first time we had been in, we were celebrating my Mum’s birthday and the experience was very pleasant, there was a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. My Mum had a lovely birthday, and we enjoyed doing something a little bit different.

My mum and I both had an enormous slab of coffee cake each, but it was very light yet creamy with a nice taste. My Dad had a chocolate Oreo cake which he was pleased with too. The drinks were equally tasty, my decaf cappuccino, served in a Christmas green cup and saucer was just right. My Dad had a latte but I couldn’t remember what drink my Mum had.

We are thinking of returning another time, it would be good to go back and try other things on the menu. The prices and service were great. The interior had a lot of character with mosaic design tables, and the plates and cups used to serve were interesting too. 

I had a chat with the owners about taking photos for my blog, and they were very obliging. I took some documentary images, so you get a feel of what the place was like. I thoroughly recommend!

Does this café look like somewhere you would like to try? 
Do independent cafes interest you too? :-) Xx

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Kind Natured Jam Doughnut Shampoo

Welcome to a new post, today I will be reviewing this shampoo which I have been using for a little while now. This is the second product I have bought from the Kind Natured brand, the first being a tutti frutti detangling spray which I found to be lovely. Keep reading for my honest thoughts on my newest purchase…

I was super excited to try the detangling jam doughnut shampoo, the scent sounded right up my street, and I wanted to see if my hair detangled well like the name suggested. I would say the scent is true to the description, it’s gorgeous, and the shampoo consistency even feels like jam which I loved. I was also impressed with how manageable and shiny my hair felt afterwards, and the scent lingered on.

I love the stylish packaging, and the price point is reasonable, this particular item is £2.99 for 200ml. They have an adults range of products too which I am yet to try. In the kids section the apple smoothie shampoo looks tempting…! The brand seems to nail their fragrances and provide a varied range of products all available at Boots. 

The brand states the product is free from sulphates, parabens and petrochemicals, and they are suitable to use on your kids. This product as are all the others is 97% natural which I think is awesome, and it’s nice to see they are available on the high street. I would definitely recommend this item, and I can’t wait to experiment more with the brand! Buy the product here.

What shampoo are you currently using? 
Are you interested to try out this brand after my recommendation? :-) Xx

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Winter Misc. Haul

A belated Happy New Year everyone! Today’s post I wanted to share with you an accumulation of bits I’ve been picking up. I went into Poundland before Christmas, doing some Christmas shopping and I noticed how good their calendars looked. One pound seemed like a particularly good deal, so I picked up this vintage butterflies design which fits perfectly with my room décor. The Works had a good few deals on calendars too, and their diaries caught my eye, this one with the butterflies on, almost matches my calendar. I usually pay a lot more at Paperchase, but this one by The Works was three pound.

You might have spotted in a previous post, my Christmas gingerbread men bake, I used these cookie cutters from Wilko. Wilko actually have a great baking section, at reasonable prices. Lastly I bought two things from New Look, I desperately needed a new watch, and this galaxy print one seemed so stylish, the price seemed okay too. I’ve been wearing it quite a bit since I purchased it. And lastly I couldn’t say no to this pink marble hair claw, it’s beautiful, I really want to experiment with it, as it could add interest to my normal hairstyle.

Where do you shop for calendars/diaries? 
Have you bought anything interesting lately? :-) Xx

What I bought & prices…

Vintage butterflies 2018 calendar £1.00

The Works
Green butterfly design day to view diary £3.00

Set of three gingerbread men cookie cutters £1.50

New Look
Purple galaxy print watch £14.99
Pink marble hair claw £2.99

Saturday, 30 December 2017

My Christmas Presents 2017

Hi again – I’m back with another festive post and I wanted to share the presents I received on Christmas day. My Mum and Dad kindly surprised me with a two piece reindeer loungewear set, this was my main present and possibly my favourite. Another main present was a hot chocolate set from Wilko which has some really tasty flavours that I can’t wait to try. I seem to have acquired lots of lovely foodie items which are partly from my brother, I was so thankful for the thought he put into those and it will be nice to review them sometime. I’m super excited to try the different fruit teas I was gifted in particular as well as the Malteasers chocolate spread and organic chocolate.

There also seems to be a continuation of colour, I noticed afterwards, everything is very aqua and pink. I had a mixture of surprises as well as things I knew I was getting and which I picked up throughout the year a bit at a time. I had a bit of a stocking filler/bargain theme this year, as I love having lots of little bits on Christmas morning. I visited places like Primark for my marble make-up bag, hoody, hat and cosy socks. I chose some stationery and books from the Poundshops. My pink scarf, which I think will see me through to spring was found in Shoe Zone.

I also enjoyed giving gifts to loved ones, and I was so glad to see I made some good choices, and that my family were pleased with the bits I got them. Thank you to my family again for making it special. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas too, please let me know if you have done a similar post of your own, and I’ll try and pop by. 

I think my Christmas highlight was to spend valuable time with family, 
let me know what your Christmas highlight was! :-)

Lots of love, Helen Xx

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Christmas Gingerbread Men & Happy Christmas

Hi again and hope you had a marvellous Christmas. I’m back with a baking post, I made gingerbread men earlier in the month and wanted to share it with you all. I used a gingerbread recipe from Cakes & Cookies for Beginners by the Usborne Cookery School book. I feel like this one was on my most accomplished bakes yet, and probably my favourite from the year too. I managed to get just the right amount of ginger, and a good texture to the biscuit. I added sultanas to decorate, making the man’s buttons, eyes, and drew a smile too!

Christmas went past so quickly, but it was lovely to spend time with family, eat good food and swap gifts. I will be in touch soon with any blogger friends I didn’t get a chance to chat to before Christmas day.

Speak soon, love Helen XxXx

How was your Christmas? Didn’t it seem to just pass in a blink of an eye? :-) Xx