Sunday, 31 May 2015

Holiday Haul

At the beginning of the week, it suddenly dawned on me – I’ll be going to Lake Garda next Wednesday and I haven’t prepared in any way, well other than purchasing my Euros. I love to do a holiday shop with clothes, shoes, makeup and toiletries all on my list. So yesterday, my brother and I went to Lakeside (I was meant to be buying his birthday present) for shopping and lunch. We went to Wagamama, where I had the seafood coconut broth and mix it up mochi, but back to the haul post...
Forever 21 – Barbie tee // Ballet pumps

Yep, at the age of 25, I’m proud to say I own a Barbie tee. I just couldn’t resist, the inner child in me was just bursting out. Forever 21 and Primark have so many cute tees, inspired by TV and film, as well as the generic slogan tees. If that’s your thing, check ‘em out. The pumps were in the sale and you can never have too many shoes. These will be ideal for the airport and also comfier than sandals when we go and visit Verona and Venice.
Accessorize – Plaited sandals // Flower earrings // Layered drop earrings

A holiday shop wouldn’t be complete without a pair (or more!) of sandals and I always go to Accessorize for shoes. Their selection of flats and summer footwear is always excellent and I find the quality good too. I love these as an alternative to gladiator sandals. I needed some glam earrings so picked up the drop pair as I spotted them immediately. But then I saw the flowery pair and as a lover of large statement earrings, picked up these beauties too. The staff were excellent at the Lakeside branch and everything was beautifully wrapped.
H&M – Pastel jeans (in mint)

I’ve wanted a pair of pastel jeans for ages, in fact it was the first thing on my list when I did my Spring Lovin’ post. I really wanted a dusky pink pair, but found the colour washed me out far too much – and my peach pair from Boohoo got sent straight back (what was I thinking?). These were an absolute bargain and the perfect fit. They’ll be perfect for a cooler evening in Limone.

I love coral and I love wearing coral, I love midi-style skirts, I love anything that can be also be worn around the waist – this pencil skirt was totally a bit of me so I had to pick it up. I hadn’t planned on buying anymore skirts but I already know I’ll wear this one loads! I’ve wanted a pair of white jeans or linen trousers since I returned from my last (late) summer holiday and this disco pair are so much lighter than other jeans. They don’t feel heavy on and the material is a lot less tight and stretches more easily. New Look are so good for denim items at the minute, I was totally spoilt for choice – I wanted a ripped pair too, but don’t think I can pull them off.
Primark – Promo tee // Quilted clutch bag // Fluorescent bikini // Skater dress

Now my Primark haul was most impressive – four items at an incredible £22. I’ll start with the dress which is available in a variety of colours (white, yellow, two shades of pink, green, I think black – but I chose blue). The top section is so cute, with the floral embroidered detailing and I love the skater style. At only a fiver, I wish I picked up a couple more now. I was shocked when I checked my receipt and saw the tee was only £1. I love an OOTD (Insta – LucyLocket_x) and am a little obsessed with tees at the moment, so this one definitely shouted Luc! It will look great with wet-look leggings or tucked into a high-waisted skirt. I needed a new clutch in a lighter colour (I have so many black ones) and was actually disappointed with the selection. The dusky pink is the nearest I’ll get to nude, but the inside is surprisingly spacious. The pick of the bunch is the brightly coloured bikini – big yay to Primark who now stock bikinis in bra sizes, as well as dress sizes! There weren’t very many DD-G tops, but I love the one I did find – and for only a tenner for the set too...

I needed more tops and with 50% off their summer shop for a limited time, I took advantage of the AX Paris sale and bought three! The first one isn’t me at all, the print is bold and the colours kinda mismatched. But I thought why not? The two pastel tops are incredibly cute, I love the whole scallop edge thing and as I couldn’t choose, I went for the pink and aqua. These will go great with my jeans, or even white shorts. I also got the jacket for half price and it’s not something I’d normally pick out. I just liked the geometric grid pattern and thought it’d be light enough to wear in the evenings and also could be something I could wear to work.

No photos, but I finally bought the #Celfie tee from Boohoo last week. After all, I do love a selfie. I’m sure it’ll make an appearance in the holiday snaps, so keep your eyes peeled. I fly on Wednesday but will try to schedule a couple of posts for while I’m away.

Have you posted any hauls recently? Please leave your links below as I’d love to have a look at what you’ve been buying!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Blueberry & Chia Smoothie

Since getting my Blend Active, I’ve obsessed with blitzing and there’s no better way to start the day than with a smoothie. I’ve looked at hundreds of recipes and cannot believe how many people think certain foods are healthy. Doing the eight week I Quit Sugar programme has made me re-evaluate food choices and so many opt for high-fructose fruits, thinking they’re okay. I saw this recipe online and adapted it (I left out the honey). This will make two smoothies and will be fine overnight in the fridge.
·         4 tbsp chia seeds
·         80g blueberries
·         400ml unsweetened almond milk
·         Pinch of cinnamon

·         Soak the chia seeds overnight (optional)
·         Put all the ingredients in the blender and blitz

So it may not be the prettiest of colours, thanks to all the dark ingredients, but it tastes really good. The cinnamon adds a touch of sweetness, to prevent sugar cravings. Once blended, the chia seeds have a much creamier texture and add much needed protein and fibre. This smoothie contains 166kcal, 0.2g saturated fat and 3.6g of sugar (that’s less than a teaspoon and a third less than a banana!)
What are your favourite smoothie recipes?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Wanderlust | Luckies Scratch Map

I’ve always been interested in travel; I love experiencing new cultures, trying different food and exploring the towns and cities I visit. I love that so many of my family holidays have been to unusual places that many haven’t heard of – give me that over a package resort or party holiday, any day. But it’s not until I started to work in travel that my wanderlust has got the better of me. There are so many faraway realms just begging to be explored – and they don’t come cheap! Researching and then writing about these places has made my imagination go into over-drive, in the hope I’ll visit them some day. And so, I decided to buy the Scratch Map by Luckies (available here).

The giant world map comes rolled in a tube and it’s best to roll it the other way and leave it flattened with weights so that it stays to the wall. Once it is up though, it’s mighty impressive! The sheer magnitude of some of the countries is pretty mind-blowing too. The map itself is covered in a gold film, so that you scratch each country away as you visit it. It’s such a good way of documenting your adventures as well as figure out where you’d like to go next.
As you can see, I’ve not travelled extensively (despite going to every possible area of Spain!). I go to Lake Garda next week, so that can be crossed off and I’m planning on going to Amsterdam, Prague and Vienna before the end of the year. On my ’30 before I’m 30’ list, I wish to visit every European capital, but I can’t see that happening – however, lots of cities/countries could easily be crossed off by booking a cruise!
Where I want to go
Canada, Caribbean, Copenhagen, Florida, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Norway & North Cape, Riga, Santorini, Singapore, Thailand, Tallinn, Vietnam
The thing I love most about the map is that Canada, USA and Australia are all divided by state; that way you can scratch off each, rather than the country as a whole. It makes completing the map that bit more exciting. And so much more fun than sticking drawing pins in a map.

If like me, you love travel, I thoroughly recommend this product! Where would you most like to travel to?

Monday, 25 May 2015

Degustabox | International Box

I feel like I’m so late with this post, especially as this month’s box arrived last week. After the March Box, I was really pleased to see that this box was themed. I do prefer themed boxes – anyone else? The International Box had a wealth of worldwide goodies with offerings from Italy, India, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Germany and the USA.

So, what was in this month’s box?
·         A box of Barry’s tea
·         A selection of Cirio tomato products
·         A packet of Kinder chocolate with cereal minis
·         A packet of Kinder chocolate bonbons
·         A bottle of Kingfisher
·         Two packets of Schwartz curry mixes
·         Two packets of Veetee microwavable rice
·         Three packets of Nando’s crisps
·         A box of DeBeukelaer cookies
·         A can of Scheckters organic energy drink
·         Two cans of Idrinq enhancement drink
There were a selection of drinks in this box and even though I don’t drink regular tea very often, the box of Barry’s tea had to be pick of the bunch. When I do drink ‘normal’ tea, I like it strong with little milk, so I found this blend perfect, better than PG Tips and on a par with Yorkshire Tea. I’m not a beer drinker, other than the fruity ones I tried in Belgium, but with a drop of San Pellegrino Limonata, the Kingfisher beer was lovely, and complemented the curry also in this month’s box. I really dislike energy drinks, on their own or as a mixer, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Scheckters organic energy drink. There was no bitter or chemical taste; it was just like a sparkling pomegranate drink. At the other end of the spectrum, I wasn’t keen at all on the Idrinq enhancement drink and it’s not something I’d have again.
In our house, we always have quick and easy back-ups for midweek meals, so there was some great products in this box that my parents and brother could enjoy too. The Veetee microwavable rice always tastes good and we’ve had the jasmine and golden vegetable ones among others. I hate mushrooms, so had to give that to my mum and dad – but they said it was really nice. My brother and I shared the peri peri one with some chicken and salad. The Schwartz packet mixes are so simple to use and can create a hearty meal for a family of four in under half an hour. All you need is a handful of fresh ingredients to add to the blend of spices. I preferred the korma to the balti, but I’m not the biggest fan of Indian food. For a taste of Italy, the Cirio tomato fillets are perfect in an Italian-inspired salad, while the double concentrate puree is great as a pizza base topping, or as a pasta sauce. Both are a hit with my family.
Now for some sweet treats and the individually wrapped creamy cookies with praline centre by DeBeukelaer were, hands down, this month’s winner! They were incredible and a box of four just wasn’t enough. They were lush straight from the packet, but a minute in the microwave and boom; soft, gooey, chewy, wow! There were also two share-size bags of Kinder Chocolate – again, both individually wrapped. I preferred the bonbons to the cereal bites, but I love Kinder Chocolate.
And to end on a high, Nando’s crisps are back! I have no idea where they ever went to, but my local Sainsburys/Waitrose stopped selling them! There were three flavours in this box: sizzling hot, spicy chicken and peri peri salt. The hot ones were far too hot for me, but I loved the spicy salt and chicken varieties. Smoky barbecue were always my favourite though. I’m not even a fan of Nando’s (so overrated!) but these crisps are incredible, although a little greasier than the average crisp.

Want to try Degustabox? You can by following this link and receive £3 off your first box.