Thursday, 27 June 2013

Nails, Nails and more Nails!

blue nail art
It's nearly been three weeks since my last nail post, I've been getting withdrawal symptoms! So I thought that today I would share with you the nail design I came up with for our Etsy Party. The photos are by Rachel who captured them on the day, you can see the rest of her post on the awesome Etsy party here
  • Rimmel Lasting Finish - 704 - Sweet as sugar
  • Rimmel Lycra Pro - 600 - Peppermint
  • Rimmel 60 Seconds - 840 - Blue eyed girl
  • Nail Stickers
I really loved this colour combo, not least because it matched my outfit on the day! Some of which you can see in the photo below. No matter how many other nail varnishes I try I always seem to end up coming back to Rimmel. I do think they are great quality varnishes for the price of them.
blue nail art design
Speaking of our Etsy party, I had some pretty serious competition for most fabulous nails going on, check out these beauties (which I also stole from Rachel's blog)...

The red and gold triangles are Rachel's, the watermelon nails are Rosie's, and I don't know whose the sparkly gold ones belong to,  but if anyone can tell me I'll give you a biscuit!

Laura xXx

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Healthy Wheat Free Turkey Burger Recipe

wheat free healthy turkey burger
Last week I came up with an idea for a healthy, wheat free, turkey burger. And it was pretty yummy! So here's the recipe...



  • 400g Lean Turkey Mince
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 or 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • Chopped coriander

  • 2 Slices Wheat Free Bread
  • Pepper and Salt to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil

  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Crushed Garlic (probably not a whole one! Just a little bit)
  • Coriander
  • Lettuce
  • Small amount of finely chopped onion

Start off by getting your hands dirty. Crush your garlic cloves into your mince and add the cumin and finely chopped corriander. Mix it all together with your (clean) hands until you think it is even throughout the mixture.  Ball up the mixture then flatten to make the burgers. I made 4 regular sized burgers and 2 mini ones out of this mixture.  Then put them in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

Meanwhile you can make the crust. Get your wheat free bread, preferably a bit stale, but if not just pop them in the toaster for a bit. Then put them in the blender until it has turned into breadcrumbs. Add a little salt and pepper and put this mixture in a shallow bowl. Take another bowl and break 2 eggs in it, then mix together.

Take your burgers out of the fridge. Heat some olive oil in a pan. Dip your burgers in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs. Now pop on your pan and turn over when nicely browned on one side.

While these are cooking you can make your topping. Take your avocado, chopped tomato, onion, garlic and coriander and mix together in a bowl.

When the burgers are cooked assemble in your bun with a lettuce leaf and your avocado mixture. I also made some sweet potato chips by covering them in oil and baking them in the oven.
wheat free turkey burger recipe
This meal felt really satisfying and like I was eating something naughty, but really it is pretty super healthy!  Plus the breadcrumbs were delicious and I don't think you would have been able to tell they were wheat free at all!

This would have been great without the bun too to be honest, and that would have been even healthier!

What are your favourite wheat free meals?

Laura xXx

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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Etsy Craft Party Southampton!

Yesterday was the much talked about Southampton Etsy Craft Party, or #SCP as it was dubbed on twitter.

Oh my! Where to start? Rachel from OhNoRachio and Harriet hosted the days events. We really were in for a treat, fantastic decorations, yummy food, crafty supplies to keep us entertained and gifts a plenty, we were in our element! These girls done good!

It was lovely to see a few familiar faces, as well as meeting lots of new crafty friends. Spending the day with lots of likeminded people was fantastic, and I think everyone had a brilliant time!

Above you can see pictures of the prize draw table. Due to the fact that there were so many wonderful sponsors who donated items, everyone got to go away with a prize!  I don't think anyone could have been disappointed, they were all lovely!

I won some super pretty paper straws and a jar of yummy sweeties from the The Sweet Hostess. You must check out her website, it's lovely!

The selection of cakes was amazing, and Els made us some delicious homemade strawberry ice cream, with big chunks of strawberries in! But we didn't just eat, ooh no! We spent the day crafting our little bums off. Harriet had made us all pennants to decorate and embroider with motivational sayings on them. I loved how everyones turned out so different! I went for the classic "dream big", in my blog header font of course!

And the fun didn't end there! We were each given a goodie bag filled to the brim with gifts from generous sponsors!
Look at it all! Can you imagine how excited we were when we opened these up? In the picture above you can see;

Hair bow - Crown and Glory
Hand Cream  - Lush
Badges and stickers - Alphabet Bags
Sleepy Doghnut Brooch - Polkadot Dreams
Kitten Brooch - Ladybird Likes
Cat Tattoos - Harriet Gray
Tiger Card - Ohh Deer
Cake O'clock Card - Nikki McWilliams
Sweet Stuff Print - Charlotte Valance
Audrey Hepburn Print - Katherine Moody
Pretty Peg - Zerabifish
Floral ring - Claireabellemakes
Rose earrings - OneTenZeroSeven
#HASHTAGQUEEN card - In Twos & Threes

 Other sponsors not photographerd were;

All in all it was a super duper day! Huge thanks to Rachel and Harriet for organising it, I think everyone will agree that they must have spent a lot of time and effort on everything, and it really was appreciated! I'm looking forward to seeing all my new pals again in the not too distant future! 

For a list of (most of) the people that attended you can find a twitter list here

Laura xXx

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Open For Business!

I've finally opened my Etsy shop! You can visit it here. I will be adding lots more items in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled! 

Laura xXx

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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Healthy Pina Colada Ice lollies

I've got a bit of an obsession with pineapple and coconut at the moment, and I have been making delicious ice lollies with the simplest recipe.

1 tin sliced pineapple in juice - 425g
1 sachet of coconut milk - 200ml

Simply pop it all in a blender then pour into icelolly moulds. I have been drinking any leftovers as a yummy pina colada flavoured smoothie just by adding a little water. Simple huh!? And healthy too!

I also tried a little experiment. I wanted to see which was better, tinned pineapple and packet coconut milk, or fresh pineapple and coconut. The fresh version turned out to be a bit of a disaster. Looks harmless enough right...
Well, it was pretty inedible. For starters it was nearly impossible to get the coconut open. Once I did, I realised there wasn't a lot of water in the coconut, so I decided I would try to blend in some of the coconut flesh. Big mistake! Perhaps if you had a super duper blender this would work better, but I was left with lots of little chunks of coconut, which was not a nice texture. Especially in the drink version, not good!

Packet coconut wins hands down, although I am tempted to try packet coconut with fresh pineapple, that could be a winning combination!

Have you got your ice lolly recipes out yet?

Laura xXx
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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Get Conscious! - Sustainable and Ethical Clothing

H&M Conscious Sustainable Clothing Range

Yesterday I walked into H&M on a hunt for some flipflops for my upcoming holiday. While I was there I noticed their Long Live Fashion campaign. The idea is that H&M customers bring in their unwanted clothes, for every bag they hand in they get a voucher of £5 to spend on your next purchase of £30 or more. I thought this was a fantastic idea, and am really impressed with the actions H&M is taking to make their organisation as sustainable and ethical as possible, you can see what they have been up to here. Plus, they have launched the fantastic new 'Conscious' range, supplying clothes made from sustainable fabrics. You can see some of my favourite picks from this line above!

The reason this is so interesting to me, is because about 3 years ago I made the decision to stop buying clothes from un-ethical sources.  I banned myself from shopping on the high street and only allowed myself to buy second hand clothes or from ethical clothing lines. You may ask "What led to this madness of which you speak?!"

The answer would be 2 brilliant and revealing books;

Eco-Chic by Matilda Lee
Green is the New Black by Tamsin Blanchard

Unfortunately after about a year I slipped somewhat back in to my old ways, but I want to take this opportunity to remind myself why I did it in the first place, and also make others more aware of the fashion industry and exactly what they are buying into!

At the time, I was working in the waste industry, and the most painful thing for me to see was the amount of clothing that is simply being sent to landfill! I find it unthinkable that anyone would put their clothing in the bin rather than a clothing bank/fabric bank or giving it to a charity shop. I guess it is all about awareness, and hopefully this is growing! Here are a few stats you may find interesting from eco-chic;
  • 2 million shoes are thrown in UK rubbish bins every week.
  • We throw away approximately 220 million black bags worth of textiles every year.
  • If everyone in the uk bought 1 reclaimed woollen garment a year, it would save an average of 1.686 million litres of water and  480 tonnes of chemical dyestuffs.
Craziness no? If you are interested in the fashion industry at all, I would strongly recommend you read these books. In fact, I think everyone should read them!

From now on I am going to be aware of what I buy, waste less, try to support as many ethical businesses as I can, try to buy secondhand and maybe even try to make some clothes for myself! Why not join me in my little campaign by taking a bag of unwanted clothes to H&M, and using your £5 voucher on something from their Conscious range?

It is unrealistic to expect everyone to stop buying from their favourite clothes shops, but I think (I hope) that most people would be willing to cut down, and maybe buy from a few more ethical shops or clothing lines to show their support.

What are your views on this issue?  Do any of you buy from ethical shops or have any tips?

Laura xXx

This post was not sponsored by H&M or any other company, all views are completely my own.
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Thursday, 13 June 2013

A New Venture!

colourful vases etsy
Guess what? I'm finally going to open an etsy shop! And just in time for the Southampton etsy craft party too! Here is a sneak peek of some of the things I will have to offer...
blue cut glass pot
yellow decanter vase
duck egg blue glass ring holder

green cut glass pot
The shop is not quite ready yet, but if you would like to follow me on etsy ready for when it is, you can find me here

I have been hunting high and low for forgotten cut glass items that I can upcycle into colourful new visions, I have been particularly fond of sourcing pretty decanters. It seems they have fallen out of fashion where pouring wine is concerned, however, as a colourful ornament or vase I think they are quite delightful!

You may have spotted a couple of my creations in my Room for Improvement post. I am keeping those ones for myself though, I have grown quite attached!

Speaking of etsy, are any of you coming to the Southampton Etsy party? Or to any of the etsy parties for that matter?  I am soooo excited, only one week to go!

Laura xXx

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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Cinnamon Chocolates

I just wanted to share a very quick bit of deliciousness with you today.

After I had finished making my chocolate grapes the other day, I had some of the cocoa, vanilla sugar and cinnamon mixture left over. I also had some melted dark chocolate left, so in an effort to make sure nothing was wasted, I decided to mix it all together and see what happened! I poured the mix into some little heart shaped chocolate moulds and left them in the fridge to cool.

I wasn't sure how they would turn out, after all, you probably don't need to add more cocoa to chocolate... but they were quite yummy!  I liked the cinnamon kick, they did have a grainy texture but I liked that too. They melted pretty quickly, but they also got eaten quickly so it didn't really matter! Terrible for you of course!

Ok, back to the spinach and watercress smoothies...

Laura xXx
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Friday, 7 June 2013

Gradient Nail Art

I have seen lots of tutorials for gradient nail art recently, but they all seem to use a sponge and look rather messy. Also, I didn't really have a suitable sponge, so I found an alternative solution. This tutorial shows how to create a gradient by mixing clear varnish with your chosen colour on tin foil, and layering it over the top. Gradually you will add more of the colour to the mix so that it gets darker towards the top. 
It was a little annoying having to re-mix the varnishes for every coat, but all in all it was quite easy. I started off using a make up brush as the tutorial suggests, but I found that this dried out too quickly. So instead I started using the brush from one of my old clear polishes that I don't use any more. This worked much more smoothly.

  • Rimmell- Peppermint
  • Mavala - Pistachio
  • An old clear polish
  • Seche Vite top coat
  • Tin foil - to mix together the varnishes

What do you think? Does it look as good as the ones that use the sponge technique?

Laura xXx
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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Grape Expectations - Grape Covered Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Covered Grapes
These might look like chocolate eggs, but in actual fact they are chocolate covered grapes! You know me, I like a healthy snack, and although the coatings of these might not be all that great for you, the centre certainly is!

I had a bit of a brainwave when I heard about people freezing grapes and eating them as icy snacks. I tried them and they were great! So I thought I would try to devise a recipe that turned them into mini chocolate ice lollys (without the stick). I had grape expectations for this experiment (grape, hah, see what I did there!?)

In actual fact I think these were much nicer when they had just been refrigerated rather than frozen. To get the best flavour you have to chew them quite quickly, rather than suck them. As you can imagine this is pretty difficult when they are frozen!
I started off the experiment by sending Chris to the shops to get me a bunch of grapes, and a packet of dark chocolate. Whilst that was being taken care of, I raided the cupboards to see what I had that would work as a coating.

I re-emerged with the following ingredients
  • Hundreds and Thousands
  • Sesame Seeds (my healthy option)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Vanilla Sugar
  • Cinnamon
The hundreds and thousands and the sesame seeds were ready to roll, but I mixed the cocoa powder, cinnamon and vanilla sugar together. I'm not quite sure how much I used of each, it was mostly cocoa powder, a bit less sugar, and then a fair sprinkling of cinnamon. 

Then I found some little dishes to put each topping in. A small deep bowl is preferable to a large shallow one. I also got out a large piece of baking foil to lay my finished grapes on.

Next I got on with melting my chocolate. The usual way of boiling a pan of water and sitting a pyrex dish on top, I popped in my broken chocolate and stirred until completely melted.
Chocolate Covered Grape ballsNow for the fun bit! I took my washed grapes, one by one, dipped them completely in the melted chocolate, then put them straight into my coating dish. I used a spoon to pour the coating onto the top. Then I rolled it around a bit until I was sure it was covered. You want the toppings to completely cover the chocolate, otherwise the melted chocolate will just stick to the bottom of the dish and make a mess. The cocoa powder one was easiest, I just had to shake the dish and the grape would roll around on its own.

I found it best to leave them in the dish to set for a moment, so I had a little production line going on where I would do one in each coat then remove it when I got back to the first one again. At this point I carefully removed the coated grape from the dish and placed it on my tin foil, and popped them in the fridge to cool for a little while.
hundreds and thousands
sweet cocoa and cinnamon
sesame seeds
I have to admit, these were a bit strange to get used to, but after I'd had a few ... yum! Chris and I devoured all of these during one episode of Game Of Thrones.

My favourites were the hundreds and thousands, weirdly they tasted a lot like a toffee apple! I loved the cinnamon kick in the cocoa ones, but you definitely had to chew them, if you sucked it you would just end up with a mouth full of powder. And the sesame seed ones are great too, they will be a perfect healthy treat. They say dark chocolate is good for you right!?

Ok, they were a little bit fiddley to make, but well worth it!
healthy snacks - chocolate covered grapes
I think these would be really fun at a party. I would like to see peoples expressions as they eat them and  don't get what they are expecting! A good way to trick children into eating fruit also, no?  Although I never understand children who don't like fruit, particularly grapes, I loved them as a child!

I'm trying to think of some more topping ideas now. Can you think of any that would be good?

Laura xXx

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Monday, 3 June 2013

Room for Improvement: Dining Room Make Over

room for improvement challenge
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have received an email from Money Supermarket. They asked me if I would like to take part in their Room For Improvement challenge. 

The brief? Improve a room of your choice for just £50 using whatever methods you like!

The best part? They gave each participant the £50 to do the challenge! Since Chris and I are using just one room as our bedroom, lounge, study and dining room, I decided to improve one area of it. It was a tough decision but in the end I settled on the dining area. Primarily because before there wasn't really one before, just a dining table which we didn't use! Take a look at the before and after photos, then I will tell you what I spent my money on.

So we did a bit of rearranging and moved the dining table to what had previously been our lounge area.  First things first we needed some chairs. I scored 4 for just £10 at a car boot sale! (I'm only showing 2 in the pictures because we don't have room for all 4 yet) Next I had to paint them, so I went and bought a tin of Craig &; Rose 1829 Pale Mortlake Cream, from B&Q for £11.98 and got to work sanding them down. Four coats later and they were nearly finished, but I wanted to add a little bit of an accent colour. Luckily we had some light blue paint left over from another project, so I added the finishing touches! Here are the before, during and after pictures of the chairs. 
chair beforechair being paintedpale mortlake creamduck egg blue
I also bought some plain white calico off of ebay, which cost £4.20 including postage.  I simply covered over the horrible brown leather effect fabric, and used a fabric staple gun on the reverse to secure.

Next up, I wanted something for the centre of the table, so I bought a cute little cut glass pot for £1 from a car boot sale. I decided to continue with the blue theme, and found some spray paint at The Range for £4.99 to match the colour on my chairs. I had a plant which I had been meaning to re-pot, so I thought he would be right at home in the centre of the dining table.
I didn't want to hang anything on the walls, since we will be moving in a few weeks time (into our very own house, yay!) But, the wall did look rather bare, so I came up with an alternative; really tall flowers! I have always loved the way the cherry blossom looks, it reminds me of beautiful Japanese paintings. So, I was rather chuffed when I found faux cherry blossom branches for £2.99 each at Dunelm Mill. I bought 3 of them, and popped them into a painted decanter which I already had.

cherry blossom
I found a rather lovely jug in TK Maxx FOR £13, and obviously I needed to buy it to match the pretty pink cherry blossom flowers. With my last pennies I bought some wine glasses for £3.14 from Dunelm Mill, since we will definitely be needing those the day we move into our new house!
Dining Room Decoration
Total Spend = £57.28 (Ok, a little bit over, but not far off!)

While I was perusing my Bloglovin feed this morning I spotted a few of my bloggy friends who had also taken part in this challenge. If you fancy seeing some more ways to brighten up a room for £50 why not pop over to Claire, Rachel and Harriet's blogs.

Laura xXx

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