Friday, 6 February 2015

January Favourites

This post is now a week overdue and I did contemplate not putting this up at all but I have found some really gems this month that you really all need to see!

  • Mint Green Polka Dot Pug Make Up Bag - One of my friends bought this for me my last week and surprised me with it along with mini eggs and malteaster bunnies, she knows me well. I immediately swapped all my make up into this bag, it's so much more spacious, I think I need to buy some more make up. I believe she picked this up from Penneys for €4, if you're looking!

  • Tan & Rose Gold Skinny Strap Watch - I've been on the hunt for a really simple watch for a couple of months now, I do love Olivia Burton ones at the moment, but they are a bit pricey. I found this beauty in New Look for €15! I couldn't locate it online but it should still be in stores.

  • No7 Gel Look Shine Nail Colour in Persian Blue - Up until two weeks ago, I hadn't painted my nails since September and when I did go to paint them, I found that most of my nail polish had gone all gloopy, so I decided to pick this up with one of the No7 vouchers in Boots. I've tried a few Gel Look nail varnishes from lots of different brands, but this is by far the best, two coats and it is completely opaque. Managed to keep it on for three days without it chipping at all!

  • Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat - I discovered this upon raiding my friends nail stash after my gloopy nail varnish mishap. I had never used a base or a top coat before but she assured me that it stopped nail varnish from staining your nails and made them super shiny when applied as a top coat. She was right and I found myself in boots the next day spending my advantage card points on this.

  • Grey Running Leggings - I have a love/hate relationship with these. They are perfect for laying around the house on, or putting on to run quick errands but the one time I tried to go for a run in them, they just would not stay in the right place. I really wanted a pair of high rise leggings to keep everything together but these are not the ones. They have to go in my favourites though as they are more comfortable than any other lounge wear I have ever worn and so soft. They were less than a tenner in Penney's so I won't lose sleep over the fact that I find them completely unfit for purpose.

  • New Glasses - After struggling on for nearly a year with glasses that I had superglued together, I bit the bullet and treated myself to a new pair. I got them from Specsavers and although I was less than impressed with the customer service I am absolutely in love with my glasses. I wear them everyday so having a nice pair is a huge deal for me.

  • Charmed - At the beginning of the year my boyfriend and I bought the most beautiful 32" smart TV anyone has ever seen, I also got myself a Netflix subscription. Out of aaaaall the shows I could have possibly chosen to watch, I picked an old favourite of mine from my preteen years. Three sister witches trying to rid the world of all evil while trying to live normal lives. I don't really know what to compare it too, possibly Buffy, I feel like you get involved with the characters more in Charmed though and that's why it would win in a battle between the two for me.

That concludes my January favourites! I love doing these and I am really enjoying blogging again. What were your must haves for January?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Spending Ban // Week 1

Something I have had to come to terms with in the last few months is the fact that I am really awful at saving money. I have always been of the opinion that I am quite good with money but nope - unfortunately that is not a thing. As much as I would like to think that I only ever spend on essentials things like food, travel and dog food, that't not really the case. Although I do spend a large chunk of my paycheck on these things there is still quite a lot of it unaccounted for. I enjoy a weekly pointless trip to Penneys where I usually come out with €20 worth of bargains that I didn't really need, eating take out food or eating out when I really cannot be bothered to cook even though I spent another €20 in Tesco the day before buying food for the fridge/cupboards and my personal favourite, taking out money from the ATM to buy one thing but spending the rest of it anyway because it was clearly burning a hole in my purse.

Upon this realization I decided to embark on a spending ban for six weeks that started on Monday the 26th of January and will end the 9th of March. Obviously I'm still going to be spending money on essential things such as food and travel, and I will be allowing myself to go out and do things if I want but I'm mainly trying to cut out pointless spending on clothes, beauty bits and take out food. I'm hoping I'll be able to give you guys weekly updates every Monday to let you know how I'm getting on and to share any tips. So here's what I've learnt on week one!

  • Do a weekly food shop - This is something I had been wanting to do for a while now as I know a lot of money goes on little trips to Tesco, eating out and buying lunch when I could just make it at home. I spent €50 on food shopping on last Sunday (including buying a new wok, hurray) and managed to cook at home from scratch 5 nights of the week. I did make one additional trip to the shops to buy a Quorn lasagne after work and some baking bits but it is an improvement!
  • Buy a travel card - I have a really bad habit of taking money out of my account because I don't have any for the bus but still spending the remainder on crap I didn't need. I use buses quite often and I have purchased bus passes before for the whole month but some months it's just not worth it. This month I decided to invest in a Leap Card, which is a card you top up buy as much as you like and the fare is taken off it when you scan it on the bus, fares are also 20% cheaper when you use it. Cards like these are great if you're not sure if a pass if worth the money but you don't want to be left fumbling around the change when your boyfriend can't pick you up from work.
  • Avoid temptation - As I mentioned before, I really enjoy strolling into Penney's before work on a Sunday with nothing particular in mind that I need to buy but somehow I still manage to come out with a bag full of stuff. I walked in there a few weeks back and came out with a whole gym outfit, despite the fact that I have never been to a gym before in my life and haven't been since either. So in an effort to stop events like these happening I am trying to cut out window shopping and browsing completely. If I don't see all the nice things, I'll never know I needed them and be able to live without them.
So those are my top three tips for this week. Although I have had a few hiccups, one of which included a nude coloured Rimmel Apocolips, (but for less than €2,who can really blame a girl?) I am pretty proud of myself. The real test will be next week when I get paid, I may treat myself to a new camera but I'm going to call that an *essential* for the sake of my blog. 

Thank you so much for reading and let me know if you have any tips for me! 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Super Easy Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

Hello internet friends and wonderful people that have stuck around despite the fact that I haven't been around for the past five months, I have missed you all! It has been a long, busy and very eventful last few months, I am so glad I have managed to (kind of) sort my life out and finally make time for some blogging and other exciting projects. Since September my life has been super hectic and honestly, I haven't had any time to do anything that I actually want to do, like bake and blog and that just really does not do it for me. I have had so many ideas, the creative juices are well and truly flowing and I am so excited for everything to come. Thank you to everyone that has stuck around, I really appreciate it and I hope you'll all stick around for some 2015 adventures! Now onto the cake.. 

 Fun fact, up until last month I had never actually made a cake before. This recipe really could not be any more simple, very little ingredients, all of which you would almost certainly have in your cupboards and two sandwich tins! It's also a great one to use if you're looking for an easy Swiss Roll recipe, just replace the self raising flour with plain flour. This cake it a lot less airy and springy than a victoria sponge cake or a normal plain cupcake, I think that's mostly to do with how you whisk the eggs and sugar and the fact that it doesn't contain butter. It's very filling and moist, I'm terrible at describing things so you shall just have to try it for yourselves and see! I choose to use strawberry jam and cream as the filling but you can use anything you like, fresh strawberries for example would taste amazing and look great too. One of the main reasons I had never made a cake before was because I think it's really hard to distribute among friends and family and I was afraid that it wouldn't get eaten but this recipe is pretty small and you would only really get about 8 small-ish slices out it, which is perfect for my house, you don't want this hanging around for too long either because of the cream! Anyway, let's get on into it..


3 eggs
90g caster sugar
90g self raising flour

For the filling:

300ml cream
4 tablespoons  jam
50g icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4/350F, grease two sandwich tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment.

2. Put the eggs and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl, whisk with an electric whisk until the mixture is pale and holds a figure of 8, basically until it's thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is taken out. It's best if you don't stop whisking until you think it's ready.

3. Sift in the flour and fold in carefully with a spatula.

4. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tin, shake it all about a little and bang it against the counter top too get it evenly spread with no air bubbles (this is literally what I do) then place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the cake is beginning to come away from the sides of the tins.

5. Remove from tin, peel off the baking parchment from the bottoms and leave to cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, spread the cream on the top of one of the sponges and the jam on the bottom of the other and sandwich them together. Use a sieve to dust some icing sugar over the top and viola, you're done!

As you can probably tell, I still haven't got a new camera. I was hoping to be able to save up enough to have a DSLR by now but that has not happened. Even though the quality of the pictures makes me want to hide and cry and not blog, I miss it waaay too much. So now I am thinking of purchasing a decent compact digital camera until I can afford a DSLR. The quality still wouldn't be as good as other bloggers but it would definitely be miles better than my phone's camera quality, what do you guys reckon?

Please comment below letting me know your favourite kinds of cake and if you try mine, tweet me a picture. Thanks for reading & happy baking!