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Friday, 29 July 2016

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

Well I can't say this week hasn't been just a little bit annoying at times, you see, we've had no hot water since last weekend! This has meant that we've had to go up and down to my mums for showers, we've had to wash the dishes by boiling the kettle over and over again and if I turn the hot tap on one more time to wash my hands I may scream! However -that should be all fixed this evening (fingers crossed) and the world can continue as it should. Tomorrow night we're heading out for dinner with Paul's mum and dad, we're having Tapas somewhere they haven't tried so that should be fun. What are your plans for this weekend?

1. Slower weekday mornings that result in lemon ricotta pancakes with piles of berries. So much better than the hurried bowl of cereal.

2. Spending Saturday evening playing with Snapchat filters.

3. Making cupcakes, it feels like forever since I last made a batch. So even though these weren't for us, it was still fun.

4. Still catching Pokemon. We are still totally hooked on this game, plus I love how much more we walk now without even realising.

5. This song.

6. The small dog curled up on my lap as I type this. I love how cuddly she is.

7. Monday afternoon spent picking berries with Paul.

8. Late afternoon walks around pretty little towns, where nearly everyone has door steps surrounded by flower pots.
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Back to the Berry Fields

berry-picking
berry-picking
berry-picking

Around this time most years, Paul and I like to go berry picking, we always come home with punnets bursting full of the tastiest fruit. Some get eaten on the way home, some are used in recipes and the rest are usually bagged up and frozen. We both had totally free days on Monday, so decided to head back up to our favourite farm and fill the freezer (and our belly's) once again. 

The sun was shining when we left the house, the car was sauna -esk and we were looking forward to an afternoon wondering around in the fields and tunnels. As we got closer and closer to the farm, the sky got darker and darker, then suddenly we were hit with the heaviest rain I have ever seen -the wipers on the car couldn't keep up! We parked the car -the rain still just as heavy, and decided we had to make a run for it to the cafe. A coffee seemed like the perfect way to wait out the crazy weather, especially seeing as we had on t-shirts and the temperature had dropped significantly! 

berry-picking
berry-picking

Feeling very glad that Paul had a couple of hoodies lying in the back of his car, we grabbed one each and ran! The cafe, not surprisingly was busier than normal, but we found a table by the window and sat chatting while sipping our coffees, waiting out the rain. After a coffee, a sneaky slice of cake each and a little look around the deli, where we bought the best scotch eggs known to man, the rain had stopped. It worked out perfectly, so as the sun started to shine from behind the clouds we headed down to fill our basket. I did keep the hoodie on though...I was still quite cold.

berry-picking
berry-picking

Even though I'm sure we would all have preferred a little less rain than we've had this summer, that and the heat have left the tunnels and fields bursting with fruit! So much so that it didn't take us long to collect all that we wanted. We were very restrained and didn't pick too much, because I'm sure we'll end up back again before the seasons over. 

We paid for our afternoons work and headed home for dinner, which of course was the scotch eggs from the deli, also a couple of lemon and coconut slices for after. 

berry-picking
berry-picking


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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Flower Arranging: Milk Bottles

flower-arranging-milk-bottles
flower-arranging-milk-bottles
flower-arranging-milk-bottles

A week or so ago while I was out running errands, I picked up two small bunches of flowers to take home and brighten up what was a rainy afternoon. I had every intention of just trimming them and putting them in the usual go-to vase, sitting them on the trunk in our living room, and enjoying how pretty they'd look. But, when I got home with them, I started to think that the usual vase would take away or even over shadow the dainty little flowers, I then remembered the set of milk bottles my little brother had given me the year before for my birthday.

We've used the bottles countless times before for drinks - they are perfect for serving milk with cookies. In fact, they sit out on our kitchen counter because we reach for them that often, but I'd never before thought to put flowers in them. Silly really, seeing as you can present flowers in almost anything.

I filled each bottle with water, and added a little of the food that comes with most bouquets, to each of them. I started trimming all the stems to size and playing about with the arrangement, and when I'd finished I was so pleased with how it looked. I'm definitely going to start being more creative when it comes to flower arranging in the future -the options are endless if you think about it! 

flower-arranging-milk-bottles
flower-arranging-milk-bottles


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Friday, 22 July 2016

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

That my friends, is our first strawberry of the year, straight from the garden! I'm so pleased with it, and there seems to be a fair few more that look as if they'll soon be ready to pick. I like to imagine some times, that Paul and I are expert gardeners...when in actual fact we kill many plants! So I'm over the moon with our little berries. This week has been one of those that have just flown by, I honestly wonder where the times gone. I worry some times that as we get older, and have more to do with more responsibilities, that we forget to enjoy life at the same time...then before you know it, another years gone by! But it's once again the weekend and I fully intend to make the most of it. How about you?

1. The beautiful spots we've discovered while playing Pokemon Go. Plus how much we're still bloody loving that game!

2. The delivery man laughing at me for the size of my Asos order.

3. Ordering one or two early Christmas presents. I'm sorry, especially to those of you that consider that to be a bad word at this point in the year. But it makes me feel better knowing I've started, and by the time it does arrive, how organised I'll be.

4. Food shopping. And not just any food shopping. The huge food shops you do when you come home with enough food, so that it feels as if you'll never have to buy any again.

5. Phone calls with my grandma. No matter how many times a week I speak to her, our phone calls are always over 30 minutes. Once she gets going she just can't stop herself.

6. Yogurt coated popcorn, it's a new favourite in the house.

7. Listening to how excited our friend is because his moving date is so nearly here. I'm sure I mentioned it, months ago now that he'd bought his first home. Well, he's spend the past little while doing it up and he thinks next weekend is the big move!

8. The thunder and lightening storm we had on Wednesday morning. It was so dark out side that it felt like winter, and even at 9.45am, I was still turning lights on. I know that doesn't sound like a happy thing, but I do sometimes miss the dark morning, I know they aren't for everyone, but I enjoy them.
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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Mixing Foundations

mixing-foundations
mixing-foundations

As things started to warm up a few weeks ago, I wanted a change in foundations. I pretty much use Revlon Colour Stay all year round, but wanted something with a little less coverage than that gives, but, at the same time with more than I would get from a tinted moisturizer. After looking through my makeup collection and realising that what I was seriously lacking in foundation choice, I got mixing. I do love Revlon Colour Stay, so stayed with that, and I've been mixing it with nearly equal amounts of Liz Earle's Sheer Skin Tint. I discovered this around a year ago when it was free with a promotion Liz Earle had on. I do love the very light coverage finish it gives but on it's own, for me it's a little shiny, so I usually end up powdering a lot -when normally I wouldn't at all. 

I've been using this combination for the past few weeks and I've been loving it! It's given me exactly what I wanted for the warm weather. Plus, it has the added bonus of allowing me to control the amount of coverage by adding more or less of one of the foundations. So for days when my face is more red than I would like, I just add some more of the Colour Stay. The combination has the natural finish I love that Colour Stay gives, but with a healthier glow which is perfect for summer time. I'm also pretty pleased that it's saved me spending money on anything new. 

mixing-foundations


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Monday, 18 July 2016

When Life Gives You Lemons...

lemon-drizzle-cake

...make lemon drizzle cake!

Lemon flavoured things are something I only fairly recently started to enjoy. Apart from the occasional slice of lemon meringue pie over the years, I'd always opt for something else. Something with chocolate or berries - or both. However, over the past year or so I've started to appreciate the tart contrast of lemon in baked goods and dessert. Although it's still cake of some kind, it feels that bit fresher and balances the sweetness.

I've been making this lemon drizzle cake for a while now and it's one of those incredibly easy, one bowl, straight in the oven cakes that are always welcome. Especially when you're craving something but just don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen making anything fancy.

Ingredients:
170g of salted butter (room temperature)
180g of plain flour
170g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 eggs (room temperature)
the zest of two lemons

the syrup:
the juice of two lemons
100g of caster sugar

(If you'd also like the white icing on top, keep a couple of tablespoons of your lemon juice in a separate bowl. When the cake is cool, mix this with icing sugar until you have a consistency you can drizzle over your cake.)

lemon-drizzle-cake
lemon-drizzle-cake

-Pre-heat your oven to 180°C, then grease and line your tin -a 9 inch loaf tin works best with this recipe.

-In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, then add in your lemon zest and eggs and mix until fully combined. I usually use a wooden spoon when making this but if you prefer things that bit faster, then an electric mixer works just as well.

-When your eggs are mixed in fully, add in the flour and baking powder, and stir or whisk just until everything has come together.

-Add the mixture to your prepared tin, and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. I check after 40, but all ovens can vary. You'll know when it's ready when you can insert a knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

-When your cakes ready, take it out of the oven and with a toothpick or something similar, start to make little holes all over the top of your cake, while it's still in the tin

-Mix together your lemon juice and sugar, then start to spoon it all over the cake, keep going until you've used up all of the syrup mixture. When it's completely cooled, it's ready to eat.

If you want to add any other kind of icing to your cooled cake you can. My favourite is the lemony icing sugar mix, mostly because it tastes like sherbet. 

lemon-drizzle-cake
lemon-drizzle-cake


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Friday, 15 July 2016

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

I don't think I can start this post any other way, than by asking "have you downloaded Pokemon Go?!". Over the past week or so, I haven't been able to pick up my phone or turn on the news without seeing something about it, and I have to say -I'm obsessed! It's such an addictive game, and I'm not going to lie...we have driven home the wrong way more than once trying to catch some. Even my mum is paying! What are your plans for this weekend? Mine first of all, involve catching up on First Dates and maybe enjoying a takeaway tonight. It seems only right on a rainy evening.

1. Going to see the new Ghost Busters film. Our friend won tickets to a preview screening but it turned out he couldn't go and offered them to us. It is such a good film -so funny, I'd highly recommend it.

2. Maple Bacon Pancakes tea, from The BlueBird Tea Co. It's the strangest thing but honestly so so good.

3. Magic Stars, I always forget how good they are until we have a bag.

4. Picking up some smaller flowers to arrange in my little milk bottle set. I did try to find some peonies too, but I think its probably too late now.

5. Seeing groups of strangers playing Pokemon Go, in the most random of places.

6. Paul's hoodies. At night, I love to curl up in one of Paul's hoodies that for me, are over-sized. There's a blue one I've had on for most of this week, I'm glad he doesn't mind.

7. Seeing so many tiny apples on our trees in the garden, and hoping the birds stay away so we can use them.

8. This song, I've lost count of the number of times I've played it this week.
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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Signature Scents

signature-scents

I've never considered myself someone who has a signature scent, but after something Paul said the other day, it got me thinking -maybe I do. We were in Jo Malone, and I was picking up a bottle of Peony and Blush Suede, one of my favourite summer perfumes. He picked up a tester of Pomegranate Noir and told me that he thinks of me when ever he smells it. He considers it "my scent", and I guess he's right. I've never had a huge selection of perfumes, I've always stuck to a handful of ones I love, and I have been wearing Pomegranate Noir for years now. Not to mention using the body cream, hand wash, bath oil and burning the candles. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea that I have a signature scent, one that instantly remind someone of me. But I also realised that you can have more than one.

Scent is such a enormous memory trigger for me. A smell can take me right back to a point in the past, and even remind me of the emotions of that time. I started thinking about all the perfumes I wear, and how they each signify something special, so to me they are my signature scents for different reasons and different times of the year. These are my favourite three.

While Pomegranate Noir reminds Paul of me, it also reminds me of him, of the day he asked me to marry him. The scent takes me straight back to that morning in Edinburgh when we were lying on the grass. It also makes me think of the Christmas season. Its my favourite perfume for that time of year. It make me think of Christmas decorations, cold days out in the city and warm nights in by candle light.

Peony and Blush Suede instantly makes me think of spring and summer. It's the one I usually turn to at this time of year and it remind me of everything wonderful about the seasons -and berry picking specifically...which makes me giggle. This year though, it gained a whole new set of memories. It's the only perfume I took to New York when we went in April, and now whenever I smell it, I can close my eyes and be back in sunny Central Park.

Blackberry and Bay is one I wear far less often, but love just as much as the others for the memories it gives me. A girl in Jo Malone once told me it was one of their most popular summer scents, for me however, it's for autumn. When I smell it, all I can think of are the beautiful multi-coloured leaves, and the sound they make crunching beneath your feet as you walk (or leap in the piles!). It makes me think of tartan blankets and hot flasks of tea -not to mention apple crumble!

So while I never gave much thought to signature scents before, I do enjoy the idea. And that I can have a select few that mean so much to me and bring me so many happy memories. A tiny collection that I hope to add to as we go off on adventures or do wonderful things.

Do you have a signature scent?

signature-scents


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Friday, 8 July 2016

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy

Today has been the perfect day to end the week, or begin the weekend depending on how you look at it. My whole weeks been very pleasant but today was fantastic. We basically had an impromptu baking day -you could say we went a little overboard...maybe. C, her little girl and I made three different kinds of cupcakes and a batch of double chocolate chip cookies. Too much...? C had been watching Cake Boss in the morning and it started the whole thing off, plus she had the idea to add bacon to one of them after seeing it on the show, so we did! We made maple bacon brown sugar cupcakes! I know, I know...they're honestly amazing. Funnily enough though, Paul, the biggest lover of bacon and maple syrup, doesn't like them! We were a little shocked, but it means more for us. This weekend Paul and I are going to finish watching the Harry Potter films (for the 800th time) , what are your plans?

1. Our new bacon cupcake creation...I can see it becoming a regular thing!

2. Easter Egg Nest tea from Bluebird Co. It was a gift for my birthday and it's so bloody tasty, I hope they bring it back next year so I can stock up. It tastes like Mini Eggs!

3. The Secret Life of Pets, I have to admit it wasn't quite as good as I thought it was going to be, but still very funny. Also, it was a really lovely night with Paul.

4. An afternoon in Edinburgh with C and her girls -even if it was bloody freezing!!

5. Celebrity Master Chef. I've missed most of it so I've been catching up this week -I do love that show. It's also left me longing for the Bake Off to come back.

6. Jo Malone, Pomegranate body wash. I will forever love that sent. It also makes lovely bubble bath.

7. Freshly washed pyjama's and freshly washed bedding -an amazing combination at bed time.

8. Our little fluff ball and how she cuddles up to Paul as we go to sleep, I managed to get a sneaky picture a few days ago.
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Friday, 1 July 2016

Made Me Happy This Week

made-me-happy-this-week

As last weekend was my birthday, this week I've been left with a much sweeter tooth than normal. It's the same at Christmas, the abundance of sweet treats leave you with an annoying sugar craving when it's all gone -I'm trying my best to keep it under control...promise. I've also had a lot of fun playing with my new Polaroid camera that was a gift from Paul for my birthday. I used to have one when I was younger -two actually! The big, more traditional one that everyone recognises, and a smaller one that gave you passport picture size shots. Everything is so digital these days -which don't get me wrong...I love, but it's fun to have instant pictures that you can't edit or delete.

1. Peanut butter m&m blondies, a seriously addictive treat. Made because of the sugar craving I just mentioned, and are now a reason to stock up on M&Ms next time we go tot the U.S.

2. My pretty white peonies that lasted most of the week before starting to look a little sad.

3. Playing with Paul's new VR headset. It's so much fun! Even if it is a little freaky at times.

4. Peach hand wash from Bath and Body Works. It's so lovely and fresh, Plus it goes very well with the peach candle we're still burning.

5. Having so many different tea's in the cupboard to choose from.

6. The sweet notes Paul leaves for me on his new white board.

7. Driving around Edinburgh at that perfect time of the evening, when the sun's going down and everything is glowing. The city looks even more beautiful than it normal does.

8. The fact that we're now into the second half of the year, meaning we're getting slowing closer to Christmas. Sorry...but we are.
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