Monday, 5 January 2015

Massive Catch Up Post!

Hi Lovelies!
 First of all, before I get started, as this post is a bit of an essay...HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a fab new year. Mine involved lots and lots of eating/drinking/relaxing with loved ones, and in my opinion, what more could you ask for?!

Anyway, yet again it's been such a long time since i've blogged. I've had serious withdrawals let me tell you. Because it's not because I couldn't be bothered or lost interest. I literally have not had the time to give it my all and never want to put rubbish content on here. But I'm going to try and prioritise my time better to cram everything in. 

A few of the reasons my time has been so taken up the last few months is because, as well as working full time, I started my CIPD course which is a Human Resource qualification, my dream career. I'm doing a home study course as the thought of sitting in a classroom for three hours after work is like torture for me! At least this way I can work at my own pace and in the comfort of my own home. The only downside to this is that it's so hard to motivate yourself to do the assignments and you have to set your own deadlines, and there are so many distractions at home! I'm due to finish in March so that should free up a fair bit of time for me, I can't wait! My evenings after work have been taken up by studying til my eyes are burning from tiredness. Then on the weekends trying to maintain a social life and see friends, family, and my boyfriend, but also cramming in some me time so that I don't combust! Luckily I had a full two weeks off over Christmas and New Year so I got lots done and feel very re-charged. 

Another reason I have been off the radar in the blogging world is that two of my very good friends got married! It's been such an exciting time for our group and I couldn't be happier for them. One of my friends (Aarthie) I have known since primary school and I was lucky enough to be bridesmaid. It was an Indian wedding so there was lots of events before the actual wedding. She had two hen parties, one we went for a long weekend to Barcelona and then a London hen do. Then we threw her a bridal shower, and then the groom's family organised a Mehndi night for her. Which is basically a party to celebrate the upcoming wedding with food, drinks, dancing, and entertainment, and everybody gets henna on their hands. The wedding was absolutely amazing and she looked stunning.The Saree's and outfits were all so beautiful, such a colourful wedding! Planning the hen's and shower with the other bridesmaids was alot of fun but super stressful and took up alot of time! Then my other friend (Amy) got engaged and had her wedding a few weeks ago which was beautiful. She organised the entire wedding in under 6 months, I'm pretty sure she deserves some sort of record! We went on a Hen do to Centreparcs which is Amy all over! She's a country girl at heart and loves outdoor activities so we thought that would be perfect for her. 

By the time all these festivities were finished there were a few birthdays and then it was time to start thinking about Christmas! So it's safe to say you can see why my blog has been neglected for a while! I thought I would make a collage of pics from my summer and winter and from the weddings/hen do's so you can see what i've been up to :) 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Recipe #1: Chocolate Cupcakes!

Hello Lovelies!

So as you will know from my 'About Me' page and on previous posts, I have been determined to become better at cooking/baking. It's absolutely shocking that I've only recently learnt how to boil/scramble/poach an egg. Although I do make amazing cheese on toast if I do say so myself! haha. 

Anyway, as we have another lovely long weekend I decided to practice some baking and attempt some Chocolate Cupcakes. I have to say i'm really happy with how they turned out! I've had some absolute baking disasters so was surprised when these didn't just deflate in the oven like they normally do! Albeit I got the recipe from a childrens cook book so even I could understand the instructions, but you've got to start somewhere right?! 

If you'd like to try these, follow the simple recipe below!

1x 12-hole cupcake tray.
Piping bag and star nozzle.

200g (7oz) plain flour.
2 tsp baking powder.
4 tbsp cocoa powder.
200g (7oz) caster sugar.
1/2 tsp salt.
100g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened. 
3 eggs.
150 ml milk.
1 tsp Vanilla extract.
1tbsp Greek yoghurt.

For the Icing:
100G (3 1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened. 
175g (6oz) icing sugar.
25g (scant 1oz) cocoa powder.

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (350F/Gas 4). Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa into a bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and butter. Mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and yoghurt together until well blended.
  • Slowly pour in the egg mixture to combine. Gently whisk until smooth. Place the cupcake cases into the tray. Carefully spoon the cake mixture into the cases, filling each one only half full. 
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly coloured and springy to the touch. Leave for a few minutes, then transfer the cupcakes in their cases to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • For the icing, beat together the butter, icing sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. 
  • Ice by hand, using the back of a spoon dipped in warm water to smooth the surface, or transfer the icing to the piping bag and pipe onto the cakes. 
  • Sprinkle any decorations of your choice, or leave plain. Yum! 
These cupcakes keep in an airtight container for 3 days. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

My Holiday Wishlist!

Hello Lovelies!
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend in the sun! I had a pretty chilled one as I've been nursing a cold for the past week. But I still made sure I spent as much time as possible in the garden on a sun lounger. The family decided to have a BBQ yesterday which was lovely. The men attended to the Barbie making plenty of burgers, ribs, sausages and corn on the cob for everyone. Have you noticed how men always gravitate towards the BBQ? It's like they mark it as their territory and it's a 'no women allowed zone'. Although we weren't complaining as me, mum, and the cat lounged around in the garden, occasionally topping up our wine glasses and gossiping away.
Any who, as we are having such great weather lately, it got me to think of everyone gearing up for their summer hols, myself included. So I thought I would make a little wish list combined with a mix of summer wants and essentials!
  • Mint Green Playsuit-New Look-£27.99- I'm absolutely loving this colour at the moment. it looks lovely with a tan so makes the perfect holiday colour!
  • Models Own Tan Collection- £5.00 per colour.- I was SO excited to hear that Models Own were releasing a range specifically designed colours to naturally enhance a tan. these gorgeous neon-pastel shades will really highlight and compliment your holiday tan!
  • L'Oreal Anti-Redness Nude Magique- £9.99 Boots- I think we are all familiar with the fried tomato appearance of our faces after a day on the beach. Not a good look for a night out. I have been using L'Oreal Nude Magique BB cream bare skin beautifier, and so far I am really impressed with it. So I definitely want to purchase the anti-redness version for a bit of a glow in the evening.
  • Jelly Sandals- £22.00 OFFICE- Who remembers these?! Without even slightly exaggerating, I used to go everywhere in my jelly sandals as a child. Mum even had a hard job getting me to take them off for bedtime! I was delighted to see they have come back with an adult version, and definitely want to get a pair of these for my hols.
  • Kimono BANK fashion- £25.00- I'm a big fan of the Kimono trend at the moment. I  love a good floral pattern. so when i saw this floral Kimono I knew it had to be a holiday essential!
  • Missguided- Rumika Rose Print Playsuit- £24.99- This is SUCH a cute summery playsuit. You could wear it day or night by jazzing it up with some accessories.  
  • Jean Paul Gaultier- Classique Summer Perfume-£40.00- I've been on the hunt for a Summer perfume. I love the mermaid packaging on this and the scent is so fresh and fruity. Perfect Summer scent!
  • Magicool- £3.99 Superdrug- I love this stuff. I never go on holiday without it. In scorching temperatures, when a bottle of water just won't do it. Spray some of this on your face and body and you will instantly feel alot cooler and more comfortable.
  • Moroccan Oil Hair Masque- 31.85 feel unique- As like most people. I love the Moroccan oil brand. I use the oil on my hair before and after washing and the difference is amazing. I have quite dry ends anyway and this does wonders for them. But I find my hair becomes even more dry on holiday from a mixture of the sun, sea and chlorine in the pool so I really want to try the masque to take away with me to keep my hair nourished and hydrated.
What would be on your Wishlist this Summer?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

New Blog Design!

Hi Lovelies!

Hope you've all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. I know I am, its meant to be a scorcher! Although if you follow me on twitter you will know that I am currently nursing a cold and feeling very sorry for myself. Fingers crossed it will be gone by the weekend!

Anyway, as you can see, my little blog has undertaken a fabulous makeover! The lovely Felicity from Pursuit Of Felicity is nothing short of a Blogger genius! She created my last design too, a couple of years ago, which was gorgeous, but then I had a long break from blogging and my tastes changed quite a bit in that time so I decided to go for a much simpler design but still with a touch of girlyness.
Felicity was so helpful throughout this whole process. I am completely useless when it comes to anything technical and she was extremely patient with me which I'm grateful for! She completely understood what I was after even though I was pretty vague as I wasn't sure myself!
I decided to change the name of my blog too. "Secret Diary Of An English Rose" was what I used to go by, and I liked it a lot but it always niggled at me and I think my eagerness to start blogging made me just pick a title so I could get on with it. I have always loved that song "the rest is still unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield and thought what a cool name that would be for a blog, sadly this was already taken but Felicity did some research and found the next best thing for me.
Changing my blog name has unfortunately meant that I have lost all my lovely Bloglovin followers, booooo. But if you click on my Bloglovin link on the right, you can follow me under my new name :)
I would highly recommend Felicity if you are after a whole new design, or even any minor changes you are not too sure how to go about it. Check out her website here.
Would love to hear what you think of my design!