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Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Beauty of Bento

I wanted to try a different style of blog today, I have been posting pictures of my Bento Boxes on Instagram, they've had an incredible reaction and I wanted to share it with a wider audience. So here it is! I have a new found love for Bento Boxes, it has ultimately changed my lunches completely and I am enjoying them so much more. It can be quite hard to always put together nice lunches to take to work but this has transformed that, I have had a bit too much Sushi that it's quite expensive so I am trying to find inspiration from elsewhere to change this. Stay tuned!

If you hadn't heard of Bento Boxes, they are a single portion meal from the Japanese Cuisine, over there you can get them out and about or make them yourself, which is what I have done. A traditional Bento has rice or noodles with fish or meat and pickled and cooked vegetables. In both the versions I have done below, I have taken inspiration from the Japanese Cuisine and done my own version with foods I like! I love having it all in one container too, there's nothing worse than having to take tonnes of containers into work or carry them around for picnics!


In the top part of this Bento Box I had Cucumber and Pepper Maki, my absolute favourite, I then had some of the leftover sticky rice with sticks of pepper and spinach that had been cooked for a couple of minutes in soya sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I cheated a little on this one as I didn't have all the ingredients for the chicken and cooked some southern fried chicken I had in the freezer. In the bottom box I had Candy Floss Grapes (check them out in Tesco, however my local ones fly out so fast, it's very hit and miss) and then some strawberries too.


This lunch was more carb and protein heavy, with slightly less vegetables and fruit than I would normally have. However I had this on a day that I was staying late at work, and having the pepper maki sushi at 5pm was just what I needed. In the top of the Bento Box is Pepper Maki and crispy chicken, made with Old El Paso crispy chicken seasoning, so yummy! And in the bottom of the box is Firecracker Rice, made with my Dad's recipe - stir fry the pepper, spring onion and chilli together, then add in the rice and a bit of soya sauce. As well as Salmon, cooked in soya sauce and chilli, my absolute favourite! And also Mangetout cooked in a little bit of soya sauce. I honestly cannot tell you how delicious this was. I've had a move at work this week, which means moving everything in the shop around, so having protein filled lunches makes a massive difference and it was just what I needed!

On another update, I have joined the gym. That's right, you read that right. I've committed to going 3 times a week, on both my days off then one evening after work, as soon as I get my last assignment done which is due in on Monday. It has already had an impact, I lost 1 lb last week, which I am convinced was a combination of eating better and exercising twice that week. It's made me feel tonnes better, it's a great stress reliever, and while I am not doing intense activity, I am getting my heart rate up and it's working. I can't expect myself to be sprinting on a treadmill any time soon, so I am starting myself up slowly and doing a range of exercises to work the majority of my body. I am not saying I am an expert at all, I've taken advice from a number of people and come up with a plan that will work for me.


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Monday, 4 September 2017

Back to School with Degustabox

Hello Everyone!

I am back today with something oh so very exciting. For me, September has always symbolised Back To School and almost like a mini fresh start, we're into the last part of the year and I still get sucked into all those Back To School deals, I am sure I am not the only one! But when you work opposite a stationery store that has purely those sort of deals on, it is so difficult to resist, am I right?

So on to my exciting news, I received the August Back To School Degustabox* this month, and oh boy are there some yummy treats. So much so, Phil and I are going to have a mini picnic with treat bags and everything, I actually cannot wait!


As the theme was Back To School, there were plenty of treats aimed at this time of year.

Seabrook Crisps
I have tried Seabrook crisps before, mainly for their more unusual flavours like Beef & Canadian ham, but when I found these in Degustabox this month, I realised I hadn't tried the most popular ones! This 6 pack contains two bags of the 3 most popular flavours: Sea Salted, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Cheese & Onion. Phil nabbed the Sea Salt & Vinegar ones right away, however he did let me try a few and they were so yummy! I'd have to say they were my favourite flavour out of the lot. These small bags are easy to pop in any lunchbox! What's your favourite flavour of crisps?


PICK UP! Black 'N White
Pick Up! Bars are not something I've tried before, and following on from the theme of this months box of Back To School, I gave one to Phil to take for his lunch. We both love them! These ones have a chocolate biscuit with a piece of white chocolate in the middle, if you love chocolate then this ones for you! It particularly is good for that chocolate fix, as there is so much chocolate there, you only really need the small bar to satisfy that craving and not feel too guilty about it!


Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise
I will be completely honest, I am not a lover of Mayonnaise, there I said it. However, I know that it is great to use for lunches and meals to add some flavour. It would be perfect for sandwiches or salads, I'm thinking egg mayo or tuna mayo here! Or to use at BBQ's, if we have any last minute hot weather, or for dinners now the kids are back to school!


JellySqueeze
I'm a kid at heart, and I must say I got a little bit excited by the JellySqueeze in the box! There are Orange and Apple & Blackcurrant flavours, I automatically went for Apple & Blackcurrant and Phil wanted the Orange, oh how things work out so well! It's actually quite a big pouch but it would be the perfect snack for on the go or for a school packed lunch. The bonus is that it is lactose and gluten free and also suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians. When I tried to go Vegan for January in 2016, I found it so hard to find products for Vegans, so this is amazing that it is suitable for them too!


Light Bites Popped Chips
I was so excited to find these in Degustabox this month! I've tried some flavours before, as Superdrug is right by where I work and it's a healthy snack under 100 calories! The pesto and sundried tomato is quite a strong flavour, but tasted delicious, reminded me of pesto pasta but in a crisp form! And the sweet and smoky chipotle was just as delicious too. These crisps are popped chips but not actually using potato which is amazing! They are in fact made from soya and chickpea which makes them gluten free, suitable for Vegetarians and free from artificial flavours. 

There were also a number of other very exciting products I cannot wait to get using.


Twisted Halo - Coconut Water, Ginger & Vodka
I must say I was very intrigued by this bottle when I pulled it out! Twisted Halo contains only natural flavours, and does not have any added sugar or sweeteners. An alcoholic drink for only 90 calories, I know, I must be joking, but I'm really not! It is not necessarily flavours I would put together, with the coconut water and the after taste and ginger and lime, I can't say it was right up my street and I'm not sure I would buy it again. I think it's one of those products that I would need to try a few times to get used to it!


Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
I will be completely honest again, I've never used Tabasco in anything, but when I found this in the box this month, I was intrigued and suddenly started thinking of all kinds of recipes that I could make with it! The Green Pepper Tabasco Sauce has the same incredible flavour of the original one but instead has a milder flavour which is what got me thinking! I do enjoy spicy food but sometimes there is just too much. My plan is to use it in a marinade for some salmon and made a dish out of that and also to use it in dressings for salads, and perhaps pop a little bit in with stir fry to give it a kick and some much needed flavour.


Maggi Fusian Noodles
I received two flavours of the Noodles in Degustabox: Sticky Hoisin Duck Noodles and Fiery Sweet Chilli Noodles. I tried the Maggi Fusian Noodles when they first came out, and I didn't quite enjoy the flavour I had chosen but I love Hoisin Duck so I am definitely going to be giving it a go! Verdict to come! It's also pretty amazing that you can get noodles packed with flavour in only 4 minutes. How good is that for an easy dinner?!


Orangina Limited Edition Summer Bottles
Eek, look at these bottles! This was by far amazing! It's like his and hers, and what's even better is that the light version was the one wearing a bikini. Yes, I got extremely excited over the novelty of these bottles, but really who wouldn't?! Orangina is delicious anyway so I had no doubt that I would enjoy it, I've only ever tried the original flavour and this time only had the light, but I honestly think there is no difference and it was so delicious. It would also be perfect for a mocktail or cocktail!


Refreshers Softies
I love Refreshers, they are great, you literally cannot knock them so I was a little intrigued when the Refreshers Softies were in my box. I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would, I thought they were too foamy and soft, and they had the same fizz as the normal ones which I did enjoy, I think it was the texture more than anything, and I would have preferred them to be smaller. I think I will personally stick to the original ones!


Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Toffee Whole Nut
I have seen a lot of the Cadbury Big Taste chocolate bars around but never tried them, I don't like toffee or caramel chocolate bars (please don't judge, it just gets too sweet), but I do like bars like fruit and nut or just the nut ones. So of course I gave it a go. Only a couple of squares mind, too many syns otherwise! I enjoyed it, not enough to finish it but it was taste. There wasn't as much toffee as I was expecting as there was a whole nut in each chunk, so that was a bonus for me, but if you like nutty chocolate and caramel chocolate, you are on to a winner with this one!


Cadbury Curlywurly Squirlies
Lastly, everyone went a bit nuts over this and my sister even offered to pay me for the bag of these, instead I shared them with Phil and split them between our lunches (I won massive girlfriend points for this). These are a variation of Curlywurly's, obviously, but only little bits, like bite sized pieces! I'm sure you have had that problem where the Curlywurly gets stuck in your teeth and you have that long bit of caramel that never goes and the proportion of chocolate to caramel then goes all wrong, yeah that. SO this solves all your problems! You can have that Curlywurly and eat it. BRB going to find myself another bag of these.

And that is everything in the box, I simply could not pick a favourite as I have tried so many new products as part of this box, some that I would definitely go out and buy again too! Which would you like to try the most?

You can use the code PU9SR, to get your first box for only £5.99, I can assure you it is worth it!


*The box and its contents were kindly gifted by Degustabox, but as always, all views and opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Disney Sticker Haul

I have an obsession, with stickers, it's terrible but I do. Today I wanted to share with you some amazing Disney stickers for my Happy Planner. I previously shared with you another Sticker Haul and a post about my brand new Happy Planner. Which is all mega exciting.

So when Fantasy Designs Store on Etsy, who is mostly dedicated to Disney but also has some amazing other designs as well as some of her favourite films and tv shows, released two new designs, I knew I had to pick them up. Which is exactly what I did!


The first was Moana, so I think that's pretty obvious why I picked this one up! It's Moana themed!! I love the fact that Janine, behind Fantasy Designs, does a smaller kit for the Happy Planner/Erin Condren. With only 9 decorative boxes, some tick boxes and a lot of half and quarter boxes, as well as some decorative stickers - this kit is absolutely just what I need. I feel like I'm not one to completely fill up my pages in my planner, as I wouldn't actually have space to write which defeats the point of how I would like to use it.


I have filled up my Happy Planner with sticker sets until the end of October so I imagine I will be using Moana for a week or two in November along with my Peter Pan set which is slightly larger than this one. I may well treat myself to another set if Fantasy Designs releases one more before then that I like. However I will most likely phase into Christmas (yes the C word is coming out, soz) towards the end of November, as you know, CHRISTMAS. This is why I'm wanting to use Peter Pan as it's got a dark blue theme which is quite Wintery. (If you need a reminder, it's here).


Secondly, Janine released a Little Mermaid themed kit. I mean, look at Flounder! I was umm'ing and ahh'ing about getting this kit, not because of the kit - it's stunning, but because of money...ha that went well. (I had a discount code and they were reduced as they were a new release anyway). The reason I went for this kit was to go with a mermaid themed one I had put in for September. The colours all go together and I just love how it all looks together.


The amazing designs for both The Little Mermaid and Moana are amazing, sometimes I wonder how these girls do it, but Janine has certainly excelled herself again! Not one kit is the same and I got two different styles of stickers in the Moana kit and Little Mermaid kit, for example the characters and adulting stickers respectively. It just makes it more different and mixes things up, I think if they were consistently the same then it would take the magic away for me!


I am sure that I have mentioned before, but the quality of the stickers from Fantasy Designs is amazing! They absolutely never disappoint and are always cut exactly where they need to be. It's definitely things like this, and of course the mega speedy postage from when I make the purchase, that make me want to re buy from her!


I'm sure I've mentioned it before, I love the cute little samplers, sometimes I wish Sticker shops would do larger sheets of them, but again that might take away the magic from it! The sample sheet from Fantasy Designs is of course Disney themed and it is adorable! I love the fact that these stickers are always something that I wouldn't normally use, and I love the little Belle reading!


On a little side note, I made a cheeky purchase of this stunning Beauty and the Beast inspired bow. The lovely Amy is behind Wardrobe of Wonderland and was so lovely from the minute I purchased till all the time after that as well. I have every intention of wearing this bow like all  the time! It's handmade, with magic of course, and you can certainly tell how much love and care has been put into  making this bow.

I am always one to support small independent stores. Who are your favourites?

To shop:
Fantasy Designs - click here
Wardrobe of Wonderland - click here


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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Leaving the Bullet Journal Behind


This has been a sad time for me. It feels like the end of an era! I have had a Bullet Journal for going on two years now, it is something I have grown with and created to be something I have needed for me, to help with organising, planning and generally taking notes. However it is time for me to move on.

Why The Change?

I know this all seems very extreme, but when you have gotten used to something for so long, it takes some time to get used to such a change! But it has been done, and I have moved on from having a Bullet Journal and gone for something that I have wanted for some time, a Happy Planner.

In a very simple way, I couldn't keep up with my Bullet Journal, I had so much love for it, it was my pride and joy (honestly...). With my change in job last month and a lot of my time being spent there, I am not able to devote as much time to my Bullet Journal as I would really like to. I am completely ok with that, I completely loved the creative side of my Bullet Journal, but I can also do that with the Happy Planner. While it has been an expense, it is not one I regret, and it means I can still plan like a crazy person but it is not necessarily quite as time consuming.

This is not to say I am not open to creating a Journal again. I do have a notebook set up until the end of the year but I am in two minds about using it! I still have until September to decide what I am going to do, but at the moment I feel like it is not the right thing to do!



What Is A Happy Planner?

A Happy Planner is very similar to an Erin Condren planner, however as EC are simply out of my budget and personalised greatly I just cannot justify getting one. So I had been looking into getting a Happy Planner and was literally over the moon when I saw Suzy Stick It had a little sale on the Happy Planners she had in stock, and thats when I thought it was the perfect time to place an order!

The layout is by month, obvs, with a goals page which was so unexpected and I love! It is then set out weekly, with four or five spreads per month depending on how many weeks the month is spread over! There is then 3 boxes per day, so 3 rows per week, meaning I can split my days up into three sections.

I generally ordered around a good time, as a lot of the Planner Stickers I had been eyeing up were part of shops taking part in a Christmas in July sale, and we all love a bargain. While I did buy a fair bit to get me started and get me through several months, I did get it cheaper than I normally would, so that's a win right?

You can see my Sticker Haul for my Happy Planner here, I did purchase many more stickers but stupidly stuck them all in before taking photos, what a terrible blogger I am! However I do plan on showing how I am using my Happy Planner and this would be a great way for me to show you the other kits I got!


Why I Chose A Happy Planner?

I honestly think that this is the best thing I've ever chosen! A month or so ago, my head was a mess, I literally could not get my thoughts together. I was so frustrated and my Bullet Journal wasn't laid out in a way that was working for me anymore. So with the new layout of the Happy Planner, it has made the world of difference.

For now, using the layout, I have gone with a to do list at the top, a decorative box and then a meal plan all along the bottom. I have recently seen some other spreads that could potentially mix up what I have done already but I can do it in the future. 

Long story short, I got the Happy Planner because it could organise different aspects of my life, such as general life, studying, blogging and most importantly my meal plan! 


How I Plan On Using My Happy Planner:

To state the obvious, to plan of course! As I have mentioned already, I have split the day up into 3 and it means that if I wanted to, I can plan weeks in advance! At the moment my focus is very much on losing weight and it means I can plan out the week of meals to make sure I am eating on plan!

Would you prefer to see weekly or monthly updates for my Happy Planner? Is there anything to do with planning you would love for me to share?


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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Happy Planner Sticker Haul

I have recently ditched the Bullet Journal (only very slightly, I am still doing a separate one), and have gone for a Happy Planner, something I have wanted for quite some time. I bought mine from Suzy Stick It, and she has a whole section dedicated to the range which you can find here.

Naturally I needed more stickers, and since there was a Christmas in July sale for some of my favourite shops, I bought some Christmas & Not so Christmas related stickers, that I simply had to share with you!


First up, I purchased a few bits from Rachel at Bits Of Stationery. I have been a fan of hers for some time, she opens once a week for a certain amount of orders, she is that popular! Fortunately she stayed open for quite some time for the Christmas in July sale so I placed myself a small order, for just a few bits that I wanted. Her packaging is so on point! You can tell instantly that it's an order from Bits Of Stationery as soon as the envelopes come through the door, I love it!

My most recent order came wrapped in Bits Of Stationery paper, wrapped in some pretty white and gold string with a sherbet stick too (Phil got this one, because I'm a top girlfriend..). It's honestly the little things that make all of the difference. Every order comes with a complimentary sticker sheet, the one at the top in the picture, I absolutely adore the summer print of the Planner sticker and the fact it is personalised. I am all about that personalised stuff, then people know its mine and mine only!

The second sheet that came with my order as complimentary was the Planner Girls sampler, this is something new Rachel has created and my gosh are they creative! The sampler includes one of each girl, doing different activities and then two extra. Rumour has it she is creating many more and also ones your can personalise! Keep an eye out to see what is coming soon!


On to what I actually purchased from the shop, these cute little Halloween stickers, a good range of everything. This one is Autumn and Halloween Events, so there is plenty to keep me going throughout October - for Halloween Parties, getting sweets, decorating pumpkins and other exciting things to do! The stickers are all of good sizes, not too big and certainly not too small either which can sometimes be the case when you aren't sure how big stickers come out! I love these, roll on Autumn!


Lastly, from Bits of Stationery again I grabbed a couple of Christmas sheets. As soon as Rachel released spoilers in her Facebook group, I knew I had to get them, and since I didn't know when I would get a chance to place another order, I grabbed them while I had the chance. First of all I grabbed the little Gingerbread People and Houses, which are so sweet, they are little which is exactly what I wanted, so if I have a Christmas activity or just generally want something to fill a gap, these are absolutely perfect! Secondly I grabbed the Christmas Drinks Sticker Sheet. With Hot Chocolate and Candy Canes, I really cannot wait to use these!


I then placed an order from Fantasy Designs Store, someone else I have been following for some time and I finally had more of an excuse to purchase some of her stickers. The first set I chose was the Neverland Set which you can obviously see is based on Peter Pan, I mean omg look! It looks so magical and I think the navy blue with stars is so cute. I honestly cannot wait to pop this in. I am thinking I will pop this one in for November, as it's quite dark, it will be perfect for Winter! Plus I have some amazing metallic pens that will write over it so nicely.


The second kit I ordered was this Princess Christmas Kit, again with some of my favourite Princesses on, it's safe to say this will be used over the week of Christmas. As surprised as you may be, I probably won't be going overboard with Christmas kits like this for the whole of December, and I will hopefully use some more Wintery kits instead to not overwhelm myself! But who am I kidding, I could be far too excited for Christmas that I want more like this! I will decide in a few months time.


Last but most certainly not least, I have these Christmas Countdown stickers, with some of my absolute favourite princesses on there, I couldn't resist, it actually starts from 4 months which means I can start putting them in soon. I may well have been told to stop talking about Christmas already so I will leave it there with the Christmas talk...!

Which are your favourites? What is your way of planning?


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

English Daisy from Yardley London


Hello! I am back with another post for Yardley London*. Following on from my blog post a few weeks ago on their English Freesia products which I completely fell in love with. I am now back with a second blog post but on their English Daisy* fragrance! As mentioned in my last blog post, the lovely company behind this are Yardley London* who have been producing perfumes, bath and body products using the delicate fragrance of English flowers since 1770. 

English Daisy is part of Yardley London's Signature Fragrance collection, along with other Scents but I have always like Daisies. They are so pretty and sweet, and the large ones you can get are stunning! The English Daisy is a fresh, dewy and elegant scent which is so Summery and perfect for this time of year as we go into Autumn (yes, I am well and truly wishing for Autumn already).

There are top notes of fresh green leaves and apple over heart notes which is a combination of hyacinth and white rose over a base of sandalwood and musk. The top notes come through as the initial impression, with the heart notes coming through after 5-10 minutes and the base notes come through after 1 hour.

Daisies represent loyal love and innocence and this fragrance was inspired by Kate Middleton who absolutely loves Daisies, and I can totally see why!


Part of the English Daisy range is an Eau de Toilette, very much the same as the English Freesia range too. It comes in an adorable little bottle which is round and has the name simply written on the front. It comes in the sweetest yellow and white spotty box, again simply with the name written on the front, and for 50ml it is £19.99.

The second product as part of the English Daisy range is the a luxuriously moisturising Body Lotion, which hydrates the skin leaving it feeling soft, smooth and rehydrated. It has that lovely refreshing English Daisy scent so you have both products to leave you smelling incredible all day long! This 200ml bottle is £6.50, bargain!

The Yardley London range can be found in Boots, Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco's, Argos and online at YardleyLondon.co.uk. 

The other fragrances in the Signature Fragrance Range are: Jade, Kiri, Polaire, Hermina, Royal Diamond and Royal Pink Diamond. These can also be found online at Yardley London. 

*These products were kindly gifted by Yardley London, but as always, all views and opinions are my own.

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