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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

January Spending Diet

Most of us (including me this year) are on some kind of diet in January, whether it's to lose weight or just to eat a little healthier. So as it's the unofficial month of self improvement and cutting back I though I would put my self on a "spending diet". I have of course been buying things I need like moisturiser, toothpaste and things like that, but I have been making a real effort to not buy things that I really don't need. I have bought no new clothes or make up since the start of this month, I realise this might not sound that impressive but if you stop and think about how often you pick up a new lipstick or a nice top you see as you pass a store it can be quite surprising. It's not that I am wasteful with money or buy way more than I need, its quite the opposite really! Even with things that I know I want I sometimes have to tell myself its ok to spend the money.

It is really just an opportunity to save a little more. What else it has helped do is remind me to give older products I have a go, and try out all the samples I have that are really starting to become quite a large collection. With clothes it is encouraging me to wear older pieces, things tucked away at the back of my wardrobe that had been sadly forgotten about when they had been replaced with new items. I can sometimes get into quite a bad habit of buying new things and then forgetting completely about things I have loved for such a long time. 

Is there anything you are trying to cut back on just now?

image via weheartit

Hope you are all having a great Wednesday,
I will leave you with a cup of tea and a goodnight wish :)
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Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Simple Sunday

Sometimes a simple day full of simple things is the best way to spend your time, today was one of those days. Sunday is always a great day for this, it seems much more chilled out and for some reason not getting dressed until well in to the afternoon is totally acceptable. Today was just like that, we spent most of the morning lying in bed watching old television series on the laptop before attempting to get up. Our most energetic activity today was having to go out to get dog food and something for dinner, which ended up being something very simple that could just be popped in the oven, giving us yet more time to relax.  I am actually very glad this weekend has been incredibly chilled out, normally I like to stay quite busy. But next weekend looks as if it is going to be a manic one so there will be no time for long lazy mornings in bed.

I find days like today are a great opportunity to let your skin relax as well as your self. Nearly every day I have make up on, some days more than others but its rare that I go a day with none at all. I think letting your skin "breath" can be a good thing and I feel as if it thanks me for it. The morning after a day like today I feel as if my skin looks a little brighter and I think it can help if you have the odd break out as I do right now. This is just my opinion but I always feel that it can't be great to cover up spots with make up, I always get the impression that they might be made worse by it.

image via weheartit

Have you had a nice weekend? How do you relax when you have time?


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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Time for Change

With January being the unofficial season of self improvement and change what better time to do a few little things around here. So let me explain

Domain Name - Because I had decided to change the name of my blog to what I really wanted it to be, my lovely sweet fiance set up a domain name for me as a surprise. I was so excited when he showed me and now my little blog has its very own .com!

The other changes are that I have now joined the world of Instagram and Twitter, I have used Twitter before for news and traffic updates but that is really it. I have also discovered Pinterest and I have to say, I have only been using it for a few days and it is already a new love. There are just so many amazing pictures and ideas you can get really carried away. I am fairly new to actually using these things but if you would like to take a look or follow me you can click the links at the side, on Instagram I am missshelleyharper and Twitter I am @ShelleyHarper12. While making all these changes I discovered that HTML confuses me and drives me to the point of madness! So fiance had to step in and he managed to make me my little buttons that I now have and really like.

Everything is now sorted and how it should be and I have re followed all the blogs I followed with my previous account. I think that covers everything, I have been unable to read all of your blogpost for the past few days so that is what I am going to do now, I have quite a few to catch up on!

Hope you are all having a good week so far :)

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Monday, 21 January 2013

Monday Blues

I found out this morning that today is considered to be the "saddest" day of the year. This apparently is caused by the festive season being well and truly over, our lack of sunlight most days and the fact that we all spent a little too much money around Christmas. When my friend emailed me with this information I started to think of a few reasons to not be sad, but instead to be happy. So here are a few of my thoughts to help stay cheery throughout January

1 - Get Organised! After Christmas the house can be full of lots of new things, this can sometimes end in the house being less than tidy, shall we say? Things can seem cluttered and when the house is cluttered and unorganised it can make life seem cluttered and unorganised. January is a good time to have a clear out of any old things you no longer want or need. It is also a great way to make space when you thought you had none :)

2 - Make Plans! Christmas and New Year is such a crazy time and when it's all over it can feel quite sad, so making plans for the year ahead can be exciting and give you something to look forward too. It doesn't need to be a big holiday or anything as extravagant as that, it can be something as simple as dinner with friends.

3 - Relax! The end of the year can be such a busy time for everyone, January is the perfect time to relax. Most of us are given bath or body treats for Christmas so make the most of your spare time and try them out. Also use up any products you have at home, more than likely if you have a clear out you will come across something you completely forgot you had...or at least I know that I have.

4 - Cooking! January isn't the best month for outdoor activities, so finding interesting things to do at home can stop you feeling sad. If you enjoy cooking or baking, trying out new recipes can be really good fun, especially if you were given any new cook books or new toys for your kitchen for Christmas :)


So there is no need to feel down in January, there are so many little things you can do at home to put a smile on your face. And most of them don't need to cost a penny, and after Christmas that can only be a god thing. So happy Monday everyone, I hope nobody is being effected by the Monday Blues.

What little things do you do to keep up your spirits?



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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wednesday's Winter Treats


Just now in the UK it is very cold! The temperature is below zero most of the time, and the whole country has been hit by snow at one point or another. To be very honest, I love it and I am going to miss it when the weather starts to get warmer. I have always enjoyed being out in the cold, all wrapped up and then getting home to a lovely warm house and putting on cosy Pjs. When I was younger this used to also include me being out playing in the snow for hours and eventually being so wet that I would have to go home to dry off. Being an "adult" now I don't get the chance to do that very often...except sometimes with my dog when she is in the mood to play.

With the weather being how it is and with me having been outside quite a lot today I wanted something really yummy and warming for a little mid week treat. Well...two things, but I couldn't have one without the other. The first is a Tea Latte. I had never thought of doing this until reading Rachel's blog, Blush and Brunch. After reading the post I went straight to the kitchen to make one and I have been in love ever since. It seems to be all I want to drink now and my normal cups of tea just pale in comparison. The second is a slice of my Grandmothers home made Banana Bread. This stuff is seriously good, I think I will put the recipe up one day...if she will give it to me. It 's quite funny because I really don't like bananas, I would never eat one, but in this bread somehow they are different and when warm it is very yummy!

What are your favourite treats for cold nights?
Happy Wednesday everyone :)
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Monday, 14 January 2013

Neutral Disco Nails


When you want to paint your nails but you just can't decide on a colour, neutral shades are always a safe option. Today was one of those days, my nails were badly chipped and in desperate need of painting but I just couldn't decide. On days such as this I have a fall back polish, and that is Porchester Square from Nails Inc. It is a very pretty nude colour that looks great with anything you choose to wear and seems look suit all skin tones. Today however that just didn't seem like enough, maybe I just can't let go of the festive season but I still have a craving for glitter and sparkle so I topped them off with something to fit that need. I used another Nails Inc polish which was Electric Lane Holographic Topcoat. These two colours look great together! It still gives you the neutral tone you wants but in the light gives the most beautiful holographic glittery effect. A great choice if you want something special but subtle. 

What are your fall back nail shades?

Shelley xx
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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Blue Velvet


Sometimes, no matter how much we tell ourselves we don't need that completely unnecessary item it just isn't enough and we have to give in and buy it. This gorgeous little blue velvet bag is my totally unnecessary item! While wondering around the Zara sales last week, not looking for anything in particular I spotted it. It was sitting all alone on a shelf that was covered in knitwear...not very neatly displayed knitwear may I add, bad Zara! I knew as soon as I noticed it that I couldn't leave without it, and spent the rest of my time in the store walking around holding the bag trying to tell myself otherwise. I went through every reason I could think of for why I should get it such as, will you use it enough?, is it practical?, is it worth the money? In the end I decided the answer to these questions was "yes". Especially since it was half price and the only one I could see in the whole shop. I am more of a big bag person, usually so I can carry around MUCH more than is necessary but the odd day or outfit does call for a smaller more dainty bag. In my opinion there is always room for a little bit of velvet especially in Autumn Winter so I think it is and accessory I will enjoy for years to come and I am totally in love with it :)

Shelley xx
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Monday, 7 January 2013

Resolutions 2013

If I am being honest I am new to making New Years resolutions, I had never given them much thought before and really didn't think they were all that important. This year I have decided to think differently about them! Before they seemed to me as unrealistic goals people set themselves with the promise of a whole new year bringing a whole new start to life and then by the time they are a month or two in they have all but given up on them, which ultimately leads to them feeling a little bit rubbish...that doesn't seem like fun to me at all!

This year however I have really thought long and hard about them and I have decided on a few things but instead of making them "set in stone" resolutions I am thinking of them more as being things I would like to change and work on so here they are.

Lose weight! This is an old and I think the most common new years resolution but I am having it as one of mine. Just a quick recap to explain! In the past couple of years I have lost quite a bit of weight, through choice and healthy eating and I would say I am much healthier now. I still have some to lose to be at what people consider to be your "target weight" though, if I am being honest that really isn't important to me. Being happy in my skin is and I feel that losing the rest of the weight I want to lose will help with that :)

Panicking! I'm not exactly sure when this started, maybe a year or two ago but worryingly I have become a very anxious panicky person. I have started to over think every situation and doing simple things such as locking the door when you leave the house has become, sadly, really stressful. I will try the handle 3 times before I walk away! I never used to feel like this so I am hoping that I can stop it before its gets worse.

Try more things! Exactly as it sounds, I would like to try and do more, and try new things. It has become so easy to say "no" to doing so many things, even easier the more anxious I have let myself become. It feels safe to say no but all that happens is you tend to miss out on something that could have been wonderful.

The start of a new year should also be a happy time, to celebrate this I have also thought about things I will look forward to. It makes the new year ahead seem much more exciting

Date nights with my lovely fiance - More baking - Movie nights at home - Dinner with friends - Visiting more of the UK - Trips to the cinema - Birthdays - Learning new things - Weekends away - Long walks with my doggy - Summer trips to the beach - With Picnics :) - Lazy weekends - Trying new food - More DIY/craft projects - Taking lots of pictures

Image via weheartit

Shelley xx



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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies!

Don't these sound wonderful, even just from the name! Last Thursday Sarah, from Ample Curvature posted the recipe for these wonderful little treats and explained she wanted to start baking more. Not only that, but she wanted anyone else who would like to try the recipe to join in. Well I really enjoy baking and these sounded so good that I had to give them a go, also the fact that a few people might be doing the same and all sharing the results sounded like so much fun :)

Ingredients 

For the brownies:
200g Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped)
200g Unsalted Butter (I used salted, I always do)
250g Icing Sugar
3 Eggs
110g Plain Flour

For the cheesecake:
400g Cream Cheese
150g Icing Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs

For the Cream Topping:
300ml Double or Whipping Cream
100g Icing Sugar (I used caster sugar)
150g Raspberries (extra to decorate)

Preheat the oven to 170° (375°F) Gas mark 3.


For the brownie:  Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth. Mix the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth and well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour, mixing well after each addition, then beat again until the mixture is of smooth consistency. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into a prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife.

For the cheesecake:  Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and thick. Add one egg at a time whilst still mixing. Scrape any unmixed ingredients  from the side of the bowl with each addition (the mixture should be very smooth and creamy). Be careful not to over-mix or the cheese may split. Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges (the centre should still be pale). Leave to cool completely., then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours (overnight if possible).

For the cream topping:  Mix the cream, sugar and raspberries until the mixture is firm but not stiff. Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up. Spread the topping evenly over the brownie and decorate with more raspberries!




They turned out to be really quite simple to make and luckily we didn't have any problems with them. They also taste amazing! All three elements of the cake work so well together...but I think the cream topping is my favourite part. So thank you Sarah for the recipe, it is already a favourite of mine.

I can't wait to see how your batch turns out :) 

Shelley xx



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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Some Favourites from December

This post may be a day or two late but we are still in the very early days of  January so I think it is still acceptable. I felt as if I had so many favourites this month and had to pick the ones I really used the most, and although I planned not too not use any of my Christmas presents in my favourites I had to give in. The only reason I did was because since getting these things I have used them everyday and have absolutely loved them!

Fragrance 



Pomegranate Noir is my favourite Jo Malone scent and I love it every way that you can buy it. Recently I found out that certain scents from the brand are designed to work together to give you a new fragrance, you do this by wearing the both scents at the same time. Having told my wonderful fiance this he purchased English Pear and Freesia which is another scent from the brand that I love as he knew that my mum had bought me my favourite Pomegranate Noir. Since opening them on Christmas morning I have worn them every day, be it together or individually. I thought because of that I had to include them in my favourites.

Make-up and Skincare 


For make up this month I have been using two things over and over again. The first is the Naked 2 Palette. I love the colours in this palette really as much as I like the original Naked Palette, maybe even more! The colours are cooler than the Naked 1 and I feel they look better with my skin tone. You can get so many different looks from this palette so it is really the only eye shadow I have needed. For lips this past month I have turning to my Chanel Shine Lipstick in Romance. It looks incredibly bright in the picture but doesn't look that scary on the lips, you can put it on quite sheer or apply more for a brighter colour. These lipsticks are more moisturising than other which has been nice with the cold weather. 

The first skincare product I had read so much about online that I had to go out and try it around the start of this month and it is La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo. I have suffered from acne around my chin for a few years now so I am always eager to try out a new product that claims to help with spots. After using this for around a week I started to notice that I wasn't getting as many. I will definitely be buying more of this when it runs out! The Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel face mask is something I have wanted to try for a while now. It suggests in the name that it is a peel but this isn't the case. You apply it to your face and after 10-15 minute you wash it off with warm water. I have used this face mask a few times this month and I am really enjoying it. I find that after using it my skin feels softer and smoother and looks brighter. I also find that the redness that I get in my cheeks has been reduced slightly after using it which is something I really like. Two creams I have been using religiously this month are the Burt's Bees Hand Cream which I have a review of here, and Body Shops Cranberry Body Butter. As always in Winter your skin need a little extra help and these two products are wonderful for that. They are both very moisturising and the body butter has been leaving my skin so very soft. Sadly I think this is a Christmas scent so I might not be able to get more when it runs out.

Fashion


This months fashion favourite is another Christmas gift but I had to include it. I have been looking for a leather biker jacket for a very long time now and this Christmas I opened this present from my amazing fiance, I have been very spoiled by him this year. It is from the brand Muubaa and is the most gorgeous soft leather and I am totally and completely in love with it. I wear it at every available opportunity and I don't see that changing. My other fashion favourite that I have loved this month but haven't been able to get a picture of - sorry, are Super Cosy Tights from Primark. The name gives it away but they really are super cosy! They look just like normal black tights but inside are lined with a fleecy material and I have worn these on the coldest nights and trust me they keep your legs warm. 

Everything Else


December very quickly became the month I ate FAR too much chocolate, these were just two of my favourite treats from the past few weeks. There were many more, including all of our home made goodies but if I had to pick two it would be these. First is a rather large bar of Lindt Chocolate, just plain milk chocolate and it was to easy to just break off a strip and have it with a cup of tea. The second are Raffaello! I don't have these very often so when I do I try to save them but they are really hard to resist. They are covered in coconut and have the most amazing creamy filling!

Well that was my last Monthly Favourites for 2012. It is a little sad that all the festive cheer of December has gone but on with the new year :)

Shelley xx



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