Thursday, July 31, 2014


I love how green this is - I feel like I've been making the most of spending as much as I can of summer outside. I've also been spending time at the dis-used airfield near my house and the nature reserve nearby. With the exception of last week, when it has been Farnborough air-show, it's usually very quiet, with the odd dog or horse, and lots of slowly ripening blackberries. 
June involved a lot of trips to the allotment, which I post about here sometimes, as well as walks in the Peak district, and cherries from the tree in the garden. July was spent eaten giant apples, a lot of muffins, drinking coffee and peach & nectarine lemonade, and knitting. 
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram, and let me know yours! I love finding new and interesting people to follow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

lemon curd recipe

Me and my friend Amy have an ongoing love affair with lemon curd - she makes the most amazing lemon meringue pie with it, and it's what she often makes when we have lunches and things together. I was thinking recently that I've never actually made it myself. I remember my grandma used to make jars of it when I was little and I never liked it - for reasons I can't really understand why, now. The smell really reminds me of her house and her baking little lemon tarts. My friend Amy is moving out soon anywhere, and I've made her a few little treats for when she does, but I really want to make her some lemon curd, too, so I thought I would give it a trial run. 
The recipe I used was Nigel Slaters (always a favourite!) and I copied it pretty much verbatim, but I'll repost it here anywhere, for ease.
- 4 unwaxed lemons, zested and juiced
- 200g sugar
- 100g butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk

1. Put the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter (cut into cubes) into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
2. Stir with a whisk from time to time until the butter has melted.
3. Mix the eggs and egg-yolk lightly with a fork, then stir into the lemon mixture.
4. Let the curd cook, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes, until it is thick and custard-like.
5. Remove from the heat and stir occasionally as it cools.
6. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
There you go, it's pretty simple, but it tastes absolutely amazing. Great for making lemon drizzle cakes, lemon cupcakes, meringue pies or just eating out of the jar with a spoon when you're craving something sugary. Not that I do the last one. Nope. Not at all. 
Please let me know if you try this out, and please show me the photographs!

Monday, July 28, 2014

perfecting the face

My beauty-themed posts are few and far between these days, but I've recently been perfecting my go-to-makeup look. I've been really into make-up since I was like fifteen, now, so I know what products I will go back too time and time again, as well as a few new things, I thought I would share with you.
Origins Make a Difference Plus + Treatment
Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat (Shade BR10)
Maybelline The Eraser Eye Concealer  (Light)
Yves Saint Laurent Souffle D'Eclat (Shade 02)
Benefit Sun Beam Highlighter
Bobbi Brown Bronzer (Natural)

MAC Eyebrow Pencil (Spiked)
Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eyeliner (261 Noir)
L'Oreal Voluminous x5 Mascara (Extra Black)
Bourjois Liner Clubbing (Ultra Black)
Benefit High Brow

Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturiser
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine (Shade 04)
In the summer, I really love this Origins treatment, I use it like a moisturiser in the morning because it's super light-weight and helps my foundation blend well. The YSL foundation is truly my holy-grail foundation. It's sheer and dewy, but buildable and smells like watermelon. Literally perfect. In the summer I go for a combination of the Bobbi Brown bronzer which is the perfect terracotta shade for my skin, making me look all sunkissed as well as being a great contour. I also dab a very small amount of the Benefit Sun Beam across the top of my cheek and brow bones, just to add a little highlight.
A new eye product I got recently, was the MAC eyebrow pencil, but I'm obsessed with it already - it's got the perfect tiny point, which is great for drawing in brow hairs. Irritatingly,  it looks like a bad match in this photo, like it's too red or something, but it does match my hair here, which doesn't look nearly as red as it currently is... so annoying! Trust me, they match. Another recent discovery is the Bourjois Liner - it also has a really fine point for a drugstore liner, making it super easy and quick to do a neat little cat-eye in the morning.
And as always, my face would not be complete without a pop of bright lipstick - the instant I bought this YSL one I knew it was the absolute perfect lipstick. It's sheer enough that you don't have to spend forever prepping your lips like some lipsticks, and you can layer it, too. It's not the most long-lasting of lipsticks, but I love it just the same.

Have you made any recent discoveries that you know will be with you for a long time? I always love the challenge of finding the perfect product that will be repurchased time after time... Maybe a bit weird, though.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

weekend wanderings #24

(photos from, and

How amazing does this walnut rum cake look? It just looks so tasty, I want to make it so much. On a similar note - this Pineapple Coconut Bundt cake is on my radar..  Maybe I just want to make something in a funny kind of tin?
- I used to buy so many clothes from charity shops, but recently I haven't been doing that as much - I have discovered a few 'thrift-store' Youtubers that make me reallyyy want to get back into it - Thrift ThickSalamanda and Sarah Hawkinson are my favourite ones. If you know of any others, particularly UK ones, I would love to know! I'm loving these sorts of Youtubers, they're really refreshing when everyone is making the same old content on Youtube at the moment.
- I made a batch of lemon curd the other week (recipe coming this week, I promise!) and I need to find something to do with that doesn't involve eating it with tablespoons straight from the jar. This recipe for lemon curd tartlets looks so good, I'm definitely going to have a go at them as soon as I can.
- When I was little I had an amazing little flower-press that I adored and would keep all sorts of little treasures pressed in - it is long, long gone though, so I want to try and make one (or press them in a book) so I can make this beautiful little framed things. I'm always coming back from walks and allotment trips with little flowers so pressing them like this would be amazing. 
- GabiFresh has been one of my favourite plus-size bloggers for as long as I can remember - I highly recommend checking out her blog if you like that kind of thing, but I really loved her photographs of her holiday in Montana - it looks so idyllic and perfect, I just want to go there!
- A friend of mine linked this on her Facebook today, and whilst I have become aware of 'women against Feminism', it's never really entered into my world until recently. This is a very good thing to read, A Response to Women Against Feminism. I am quite passionate about feminism and I get frustrated when I hear that people think it isn't necessary or isn't relevant anymore.. this article expresses everything I feel about it much more succinctly than I ever could. 
I love this collection of photographs at Julia Kostreva's blog. Everyone time a new season rolls around, I am reminded of how the light will change, the light at dusk is one of my favourite things in the summer, as it's the only time the light comes into my room in the evening and I get the most amazing light there. I know I will miss it in the autumn.
- I don't know why I've talked about food this week, clearly that is just on my mind this week! This blog is my dream, literally, I've been craving things with peaches, plums and all sorts of berries all week and The Broken Bread has it all, with amazing photographs.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

roses are red, cornflowers are blue

There is a huge bush (maybe, not sure if it constitutes a bush or not) of cornflowers growing at the allotment, they're such an amazing colour, I couldn't wait to share them with you all. Next time I must cut them with longer stems, because they're a little short for this vase.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Q #13

Whilst at university, I became fully obsessed with ideas about the universe, and how it can make you feel so utterly insignificant. I still feel like this, but in less of a freaked out and panicky sort of way. More of a reminder to chill the fuck out sometimes, as my problems aren't that important in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

on my needles #1

I'm currently trying to do some more knitting - I've been struggling with some wrist problems (that I suppose is what happens when you knit in a car for three hours straight and wonder why your hand won't work any more...) and I'm trying to do a little bit every now and then, when the pain eases up. What I had been working on was utterly boring (just miles and miles of stockinette) so I thought I would try something fun. 
This could not be any funner. The colour of this yarn is so bright I can't actually take a decent photograph. It's a Regia yarn I picked up at John Lewis, and it's just a very vanilla pair of socks, which is fun enough for me. 
Are you currently working on anything? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

allotment life - orchard edition

I know you're probably so sick of my allotment photos these days - but every time I go down in the evening at the moment with my dad the light is so absolutely perfect as we go in the evening after dinner, I can't not take a bunch of photographs. So I'm sorry, but expect quite a few over the next couple of weeks. 
Every trip to the allotment these days is spent avidly checking on those damn plums. They are taking forever to ripen, and I'm just hoping we can get a few before our time there is up (August 31st, it's coming quickly). I think my parents want to get a plum tree in the garden though, so that would be good. Also one of the plots has this amazing crop of blackcurrants and I noticed some deer nibbling at them the other day which made me happy to see (although the owner of the plot is probably less pleased).

Monday, July 21, 2014

homemade mango and nectarine lemonade

I posted recently about how I'm loving iced drinks recently - particularly last week when I was reaching near critical temperature in the humidity - and I've found a new one to add to my repertoire.
I came across this recipe for peach lemonade in a Waitrose magazine last Thursday and thought I wanted to try it straight away. I love anything lemon flavoured, to the point where it's starting to become a problem because I can literally drink straight lemon juice and it's doing bad things to my stomach... that is not why we're here, though! 
Anyway, it came down to the fact I had no peaches in the house, but I did have some very over-ripe nectarines and a mango that was a bit past it's best. So I went with it... and I am glad that I did. It's so amazing, I thought I'd repost the recipe with my alterations on here, because I made slightly differently.
- 1 ripe mango, stoned
- 4-5 ripe nectarines, stoned
- 8 tablespoons of sugar
- 6 unwaxed lemons
- 500ml of boiling water
- 1-2 litres of sparkling water
- Ice and mint, if you're feeling particularly fancy, to serve

1. In a food processor or blender blitz the flesh of the fruit  (with or without skin, it doesn't matter) to a puree, as fine as you can get it.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel 6 the lemons - try not to get too much of the white bit, as this tastes bitter. Place in a Pyrex/heatproof jug, along with the juice from all six of the lemons.
3. Add the sugar to the jug, and pour over the 500ml of boiling water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
4. Add the fruit puree to the sugar and water combination (you may want to put both in a bigger bowl, I did). Leave to cool down at room temperature.
5. When cool, strain the mixture through a sieve.  Pour into glasses or a single large jug, and add sparkling water to taste. I kept the puree in a separate from the sparkling water, until I wanted to use it, so it wouldn't go flat. 
It tastes really amazing, I highly recommend trying it if you like fruity drinks - I used a lot more lemon than it calls for because of the aforementioned reasons, but you may want to go with the original recipe if you like things sweeter.
Let me know if you try this out...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

weekend wanderings #23

(images from,, and
  • I want my future home to look just like this, I love how many plants there are! I need more trailing plants or fig trees in my life.
  • On a similar theme - I really want green, palm-tree print things. It just feels summery, to me.
  • I feel like I've seen these photos before, but they're just so fascinating to me - there is a hole in the ground that has been burning for forty years in Turkmenistan: and someone went into it to take samples. The pictures are just incredible, I wish there was more information.
  • I always see pictures of infused waters, and I know they look lovely, but I've never actually managed to get them to taste like anything much. These ones at Tasty Yummies look interesting to me because they have some herbs in, as well as fruit, which I think might help give them some taste - they're next on my list to try!
  • I've seen so many articles and features about wild-swimming this summer, it's something I've become obsessed with the idea of. I used to love swimming when I was younger, in the sea particularly, and it's something I've not done since I was little but I really want to try it.. I'm going to force myself to do it either this summer, or next.
  • I have been really loving oversized mens shirts this summer, they've apparently become my staple these last two hot weeks. I've got a really nice white linen one, and a blue Oxford stripe style one, both from Marks & Spencers, that I'm loving pairing with grey jeans, or light denim shorts, my new Birkenstocks and my hair scraped into some semblance of a bun to avoid looking like Monica in the humidity
  • These photographs of Queenstown are absolutely amazing - the mountains, the snow, the lake, ugh, if I didn't want to go to New Zealand so badly already, this would've done the trick. Deluminators is one of my favourite blogs, Jane always takes such beautiful photographs, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

official blogger - achievement unlocked

Am I officially a blogger now? Slightly out of focus pink-peonies in a mason-esque jar. Ahhh, it makes me cringe to think about, haha. I just snapped these pictures because they finally opened after like four days, and thought they were cute - and as all the beauty blogs I read seem to have them artfully arranged in the background of their all-white-everything bedrooms, with their high-end YSL lipsticks artfully scattered in-front of their iMac's, I thought I'd share them here, presented with commentary.

I got these peonies super cheap at work the other day, I can't remember what they were reduced to, but they were only like £2-3 which is the most I pretty much ever pay for fresh flowers (cheapskate, I know, but I usually cut some from the garden or allotment). I work in a supermarket that has a good flower selection so I can sometimes pick up some bargains at the end of my shift. Anddd I shoved them in this old Douwe Eggberts coffee jar because it was the only thing I could find that wasn't being used.  

So there we go. Official Blogger achievement unlocked. And promptly revoked due to sarcasm.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Q #12

I've had this quote saved on my phone for the longest time now, since I had a horrible time at university. I thought it was just a really beautiful way of putting it. I guess you could simplify it, but the choice of words just makes me happy - like a deep breath.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

iced coffee afternoons (and mornings, and evenings...)

I love it when it's hot, I love long sunny days and the heat beating down on you..  But I also hate it when it's so hot outside that it's hot inside and you get woken at the crack of dawn because it's starting to get hot (the less said about birds, in particular magpies, the better) out - or when it's 4PM and you're desperately flagging because you got up so early, and you haven't even started your evening shift yet..
I am not one of those people that can drink hot drinks in the summer (who are you people? No, really, I am bewildered by you). And getting an iced coffee every-time I go out is not practical, or wallet/waistline friendly. So I've started the mission to perfect my favourite iced coffee. I think I'm getting there. It's pretty simple, to be honest, but I thought I'd share with you my favourite things to use.
- Ice: And a lot of it. I have sensitive teeth so I use a straw, but the ice is what makes it so refreshing.
- Milk: Whatever is your preference.
- Ground coffee: My current favourite is the Taylor's Hot Lava Java.
- Cafetiere: Mine is a one-cup one from Bodum - as I'm the only person that drinks coffee, it works just fine.
- Syrup/Sweetener: I picked up a Caramel one in Lidl the other week, and it's absolutely ace.
1. Make sure you have ice ready. I'm always crap at remembering to make ice-cubes because we never have space in our freezer. I use those plastic bags because you can squish them into small spaces between your precious ice-cream.
2. Make your coffee. I make mine extra strong, because it loses a lot of taste when it cools down, and I like a strong coffee anyway. I normally make it 2-3 times stronger than I would make it for my regular coffee.
3. Let it brew - I let it cool down to room temperature, then either use it straight away, or chill it in the fridge.
4. Fill a glass with ice. I cram quite a lot in. Then add your milk. I usually fill it about two thirds of the way full with milk.
5. Pour coffee in over the top and stir to mix it. Add syrup if wanted - I find a teaspoon is enough for a regular glass size.

Like I said - it's ridiculously simple, I just never really thought about making my own, until recently. Plus, you'll save yourself a load of money, because a bag of coffee and some syrup last you for a lot longer than the equivalent spent at Starbucks or Costa.
I'm going to try making some cold-brew coffee next, because I've read that that is the way to go for iced-coffee as you get a stronger taste? If you have any tips or things to try in it - let me know!

Monday, July 14, 2014

lazy weekend, lazy sunday

Being that I still have my part-time job (anyone fancy employing me? No? Okay then..), having free weekends is something of a rarity for me. On Saturday I was doing a late night shift, and Sunday I had somehow wrangled the day off through booking my holiday incorrectly. Yesterday I had a very hot wander around Alton and the farmers-market and ate far too much good food, then today I did well.. practically nothing. I woke up late, made an amazing cup of coffee, popped to the shops, then chilled with some magazines, books, and a new knitting project in the afternoon. 

I've been having some problems with my wrist so knitting has to be with long breaks in-between, and the thing I had been knitting (a very large entirely stockinette t-shirt) was driving me crazy. I wanted to cast on something really fun so I'm doing a vanilla toe-up sock which will have an after thought heel, but its in this super amazing Regia wool that is just so bright.

I'm also currently reading A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf and I'm so obsessed with it - I can't believe I've never read it before, it's making me want to read other things by Woolf, which I've never really entertained the idea of before. If you have any other recommendations, let me know?

I also picked up the new copy of Elle (with the Malin & Goetz samples) and I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed flicking through Elle - not something that I ever normally go for, but it was a good read. And how cute are my little cornflowers that I picked at the allotment? They perfectly match the candle I got at Ikea, that is annoyingly washed out by my bad photography..

What have you been up to this weekend? 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

weekend wanderings #22

(images from,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Q #11

I don't want to talk much about Sylvia Plath, because her writing is so close to my heart, I do hate to pick it apart. But I would urge you to try reading The Bell Jar, if you haven't read it, it's one of the most amazing books I've read. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

taking stock #2

Making: a shift dress out of sumer beautiful blue and white floral fabric.
Cooking: halloumi, lots of halloumi, in salads, all day erry day.
Drinking: water! Still on the health kick.
Reading: alternating between Witches of Eastwick by John Updike and finishing off Leviathan by Phillip Hoare.
Wanting: my RSI to stop playing up so I can get on with some knitting!
Looking: at my growing cacti with pride.
Eating: cupcakes with my home-made lemon curd.
Deciding: to be extra healthy this week, and challenge myself with more exercise..
Wishing: for good luck with job applications..
Enjoying: sneakily indulgent white choc chip Sainsbury's cookie.
Waiting: for the sun to set.
Loving: the long, still light evenings we had last week.
Hoping: this week will be just as lovely (it's not right now).
Needing: a second job.
Smelling: my C&E Orange hand-cream.
Wearing: blue jeans rolled up, black tank, and a sheer black blouse over it. Birkenstocks.
Thinking: tomorrow.
Hearing: the magpies pecking at my window.
Feeling: restless.
Admiring: my freshly painted toe-nails (neon orange - China Glaze Sun Worshipper!)
Buying: car insurance. That time of the year again. ):
Getting: a free pom-pom maker, thanks Mollie Makes!
(Sorry I spaced on a Weekend Wanderings post this weekend - I had to stay an extra 3 hours at work for a meeting on Sunday - which is when I normally write them! - and I was exhausted when I got home, I just wanted to watch the tennis.. My bad!)

Friday, July 04, 2014

Q #10

I really struggle with comparing myself to other people - blame my insecurities or growing up in a big family of over-achievers or whatever - but I find it hard to remember sometimes that I am an interesting person, with my own thoughts and experiences. Even if some of those experiences have come from horrible places and from contact with awful people - it's a truly unique combination and sometimes I need that reminder.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

favourites things in june

SHORTS: I am including this in here for an important reason - basically, I have become body confident enough to wear shorts. Not little skimpy hot pants, but jean cut-offs that come to about my knee. You have no idea how weird this is for me (the girl who hasn't shown any skin above her ankle in public in about ten years). It's weirdly liberating to not give a single fuck if someone thinks my legs are too fat or too pale or too lumpy or too scarred or whatever and just wear them because it's bloody hot outside.  
BIRKENSTOCKS: So yeah, I'm one of those people that wear them. I don't even care if they're ugly, which yeah, I know they are, but I've wanted some for ages since my friend told me how comfy hers were, so I found the Birkenstock Arizona's at John Lewis, paid for them and they were waiting for my the next day when I went into work (I really love Click & Collect). 
NEON NAILS: Now it's all sunny and lovely outside I want to make my feet all ready for summer - which is sort of frustrating because I hate wearing shoes when it's nice outside - so my feet take quite a beating. I have been trying to keep my feet looking nice for the summer, but I saved you the picture of my exfoliating tools (really, I saved you) but my feet are feeling tip-top for summer. Pictured above are Illamasqua's neon yellow Rare (photos & review here) which is currently on my toes, Models' Own Toxic Apple (Instagram picture!) and China Glaze's Flip Flop Fantasy (photos & review here), three of my all-time favourite neons.  
GRADUAL TAN: When you start getting your legs out, wearing sandals and painting your toes highlighter-yellow - you realise your legs are hella pasty and blindingly white. So I found this St. Tropez gradual tanner at work and I stupidly bought the medium/dark one - which may be a teeensy bit too dark for my skin-tone, but it just makes me look super tanned, which I like. Just a warning though!  
ACCESSORIES: Apart from my usual day-to-day jewelery, some other things have made their way into my wardrobe - my trusty all black Swatch watch, and my still perfect Ray-Ban's. Both of which, I really love, I extolled the virtues of my sunglasses when I got them a couple of years ago but they're still a summer essential (they get use in the Winter, too, when the sun is low and bright in the morning) and they just go with everything. They're my first pair of prescription sunglasses and they're honestly the best thing, don't know how I coped before I got them? I also really love my Swatch watch, which I just think looks great when I'm a bit more tanned in the summer. 
SUMMER SCENTS: My standard, go-to, fail-safe summer scent is Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet (full review here), it's still the most heavenly perfume I've ever worn. It smells like gin-and-tonic, like elderflower cordial, like late nights spent outside, warm air, summer rainstorms and it fades to the most delicious, practically spicy, lemon and lime smell on my skin. I've also been using my Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage hand-cream on my hands, elbows, knees and heels, and it smells like bitter orange blossom, I'm in love.
FITNESS APPS & SUPER BRIGHT CROP-TOPS: I'm still on my weight-loss mission and I'm doing well - things slowed down through the month because of being away, having birthdays and meals out, and they're all excuses, but I am still dropping my weight, and I'm only 4lbs away from losing 4 stone! Which I'm still not quite sure is a real thing, but I know I'm so much fitter, I know that my clothes are so much looser (I've dropped two sizes in jeans!). I've been using the app Myfitnesspal to track my calorie intake and exercise and it makes me really think about everything I'm putting in my body, and it feels great! I'm also loving getting nice work-out gear, which makes early mornings at the gym worth it. I picked up some cute crop-tops (bras, if you're of the small-breasted variety) to wear under vests if they have slashed arm-holes from TK Maxx for under a tenner.
So I was sat at my desk on Sunday night with a slice of Victoria sponge and home-made lemon curd (oh man, that is making me hungry all over again, they'll be a recipe up soon for it!) and I suddenly realised that it was practically the end of June. I sat up straight and opened my calendar and realised, yup, there was only one day left until July. Where did June go? I thought in a panic, I remember my birthday, and being off work, and going away, and so many sunny days I can barely remember but... still, I'm really not sure where it went. Is this a sign I'm getting older? Actually, don't even answer that one, I already feel old enough when all the new kids are at work, telling me how they've just finished their first year of sixth-form (shudder).

Anyway, the point of this ramble (and a super long post) is that I thought I would show you some things that I've been loving this past month, even though it's been whisked out from underneath me and now it's suddenly the 2nd of July, which I still don't quite get (sometimes hot, sometimes not, when are the kids out from school, should I risk the beach this week or will it be rammed with kids, etc etc..).

Share with my anything you've been loving recently, I love to try out new things!