Sunday, 29 June 2014

Birthday Banan-za

The day after my birthday I organised a night out with some friends. I was surprised how many people came out, it was really lovely!


A few people commented on my make-up that evening. I used MUA's Undressed Eyeshadow Palette on my eyes (shade 2 all over and shade 9 in the crease) and Lime Crime Velvetine in Red Velvet. It's my go-to lipstick as it's so easy to apply and stays on all night.

One of my best friends' birthdays is the day after mine, ever since we turned 18 we've talked about wanting to go on a night out dressed as bananas but we never remember to buy the costumes. This year I remembered, but after I bought them she said she couldn't come. Then last night I got a text saying she could make it out briefly after all, so I popped home and got the costumes.


Many laughs were had, and I'm happy we finally achieved our 18-year-old goal of going out dressed as bananas.

Bryony :)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

My 24th Birthday

Yesterday was my 24th birthday. It was a strange one for me as it's the first birthday I've had where I haven't woken up at my mum's house. However when I woke up I had a bag full of presents waiting for me from my lovely boyfriend, as well as a few others from my housemate and friends.


I was completely spoilt by my boyfriend. I was so surprised that he bought me the cushion with the fox on, as I'd seen it in a shop a few weeks earlier and really liked it but never mentioned it to him. I love the Regular Show mug as we watch it together all the time. He also got me the entire Friends boxset, I've been asking him if we can watch all of Friends from the beginning on Netflix for ages and he kept fobbing me off, now I know why!


I think my favourite gifts were the two Disney DVDs with the villains on the covers. I really want to get the whole collection, I think they look awesome. I'm happy to start off the collection with two of my favourite Disney films. I also loved the House Targaryen journal, it's so beautiful I almost don't want to use it!


My housemate's cat was around for some cuddles (a rare occurrence with her, she's usually mean!). My mum popped round in the morning with some crumpets which was really nice. Then James and I got ready and popped into a few shops before heading to Bill's for lunch. I think I'll write a separate review about Bill's, though.

In the evening we met up with my family for a few drinks before heading to Pizza Express for dinner. We had a lovely meal, and after we went back to my mum's for tea and birthday cake. I made my own birthday cake because I like making cakes and I wanted an excuse to make something I wouldn't usually take the time to make.


Here's the finished product! I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially as I didn't have all the proper tools to make it so I had to improvise a little. I also don't often make cakes this, I very rarely bother using any fondant as it can be quite fiddly and time consuming. But I'm glad I took the time to have a go at this as I really loved the result. I'd love to try making another cake like this when I have some better equipment too.

Bryony :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wella Professionals Oil Reflections Review

I'm very lucky that my best friend is also my hairdresser. It means that not only can I trust her 100% with my hair, but she gives me great advice on how to keep it in good condition, and when she recommends a product to me I know it's because she thinks it's a great product, not because she's trying to sell me something.

I went to see her at Code Hair last week, where she works in Oulton Broad. As per usual, she did a fantastic job of dying my hair and making me look like my favourite person ever, Daenerys Targaryen. I told her I'd been thinking about buying some Moroccan Oil as I'd heard it was really good for your hair and she recommended Wella Professionals Oil Reflections instead.


I have to say, I'm a little bit in love with this stuff now. It's so light, it doesn't weigh my hair down or make it look lank or greasy. It smells divine (I want to eat my own hair whenever I put it on) and it leaves my hair feeling so lovely and soft. My hair can be quite dry at the ends due to bleaching it every two months, but this stuff makes it feel amazing. A little goes a long way and it's a really good price. A 30ml bottle cost me £7.50, but I think a 100ml bottle was only around the £15 mark. I'll definitely be investing in a bigger bottle next time!

Bryony :)

Friday, 20 June 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's on the Open Air Screen

Last week I watched Ghostbusters on the open air screen outside the Forum, in Norwich. This Thursday they were showing Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is one of my all time favourite films so of course I had to watch it. Luckily I had the evening off work anyway so I didn't have the hassle of trying to swap my shift like last week.


We made a real evening of it and ordered take away pizza from Pizza Express upstairs, plus James had a pint of Peroni and I got a Pimms from Marzano's and sat in their outside seating area (as you can't take alcohol into the amphitheatre). It wasn't as warm as last week but it was a beautiful evening. It was lovely getting to watch such a classic film on the big screen with a beautiful pink sunset behind it.

Next week they're showing Indiana Jones, James is an avid fan so I'm sure we'll be watching that. I really love the whole idea behind this, such a lovely way to spend a summer's evening (and a great alternative to rubbish football).

For a full list of all the films being shown (and everything else they're putting on) on the open air screen, visit the Forum website.

Bryony :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

LUSH Sweetie Pie, Turkish Delight, Bubblegum & Sparkle Review

My boyfriend's brother won loads of LUSH goodies recently and gave them all to their mum, she very kindly passed on some to me as she said she couldn't use it all, so I thought I'd review the products she gave me.

Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly & Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie
Out of the two, I much prefer Sweetie Pie. It smells AMAZING, it's a lovely combination of cherries, coconut, blackcurrants and bergamot. It's such a refreshing smell and I found it really woke me up in the mornings. The only downside to Sweetie Pie is that it's hard to hold on to while you're using it! Aside from that it's fantastic, it made my skin feel really soft and it seems like it'll last a long time, so well worth the £6+ price tag. I'll definitely be purchasing it again once it runs out. Turkish Delight I was less impressed by. I'm not a fan of the rose scent, it's too perfumed for my liking, and it didn't live up to its claims that it would leave my skin feeling soft all over. In fact I found my skin felt a little odd after using this. Perhaps it's just me, but I wasn't a fan.

Bubblegum Lip Scrub
I've been wanting to try this out for AGES, so I was really happy to discover it in my little bag of goodies. I wasn't disappointed. I cannot recommend this product enough. It's so easy to use, you just rub it over your lips and then lick it all off (it tastes amazing), then put on your favourite lip balm and voila - perfect lips! I get really dry lips and lip balm alone never seems to do the job so this product is like a godsend to me. I'll definitely be buying this again.
Sparkle Toothy Tabs
I really love the idea of these, they're great for the environment, they're easy to carry about and they're made from natural ingredients. However I'm not keen on the black pepper in these, and I think the lack of any mint makes me feel like my breath smells. Although I'm sure that's just down to years of using minty toothpaste. I also don't like the fact that the tabs don't completely dissolve, so you can feel little bits as you brush your teeth, which isn't a particularly big downside, it just always feels odd to me. I'm not completely sold on these but I do really like the idea, so I think I'll try one of the ones with mint in next time to satisfy my psychological need for minty breath and if I get on better with those I may start using these every day.

There were some other items in my goody bag that I haven't tried out yet, so I'll review those once I've given them a go. Having previously only used a couple of bath bombs from LUSH I have to say I am really impressed with their products. I've previously been put off by the prices, but I've found a couple of products here that I have fallen in love with and would happily spend a little extra for the knowledge that I'm using natural ingredients.

Any recommendations for other great LUSH products are always welcome!

Bryony :)

Monday, 16 June 2014

One Month Veggie

Yesterday marked one month since I decided to become vegetarian. I've thought about doing it for a really long time as I've never particularly liked meat much anyway, I really enjoy vegetarian food, and I've always held the opinion that people shouldn't need to have meat with every meal. Without wanting to sound like I'm trying to force my opinion on everyone else, I wanted to write a little about why I became vegetarian.

I don't have a problem with eating meat in a moral sense, so to speak. My issue lies with modern meat farming and the way we are so distanced from what we are eating. The world is struggling to provide enough meat and as a result the conditions the animals are kept in is appalling, and the way that meat is marketed to us nowadays is misleading and relies on our willingness to turn a blind eye to these issues.

I haven't found it particularly difficult to be vegetarian. I never cook meat at home anyway, I find quorn substitutes to be much easier and cheaper to use. Occasionally it's a little inconvenient but I haven't found myself missing meat at all. I have accidentally eaten gelatine a few times, though! I keep forgetting to check the packaging. I was amazed to discover that pop tarts aren't vegetarian.

I definitely feel healthier for it. I think I may occasionally allow myself a 'meat treat', but I'll be ensuring I know where it's come from. I'd rather spend more money on some good quality meat that has lived a happy life and been killed humanely once or twice a year than eat poor quality meat that has been pumped full of hormones and who knows what else every day.

I'd just like to post a video I watched recently about the way meat is marketed to the public, I found it very interesting and it just solidified for me my reasons for becoming vegetarian. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or a meat eater, I think it's worth watching. Not to try and convince people to be veggie, but possibly to think more about where your meat is coming from.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Father's Day

Purely by coincidence I had Father's Day off work this year, which doesn't often happen. My dad came and picked my brother and I up earlier today and we went over to my Grandparent's house to pick up his lovely dog Molly (who I haven't seen in ages) and had a cuppa and some delicious home grown strawberries with cream. We then took Molly and my mum's dog Fern to Horsey Gap for a walk along the beach.


Molly's on the left and Fern's on the right. It was colder than I'd expected so I ended up wearing my dad's wellies and overcoat, it was a great look as I'm sure you'll agree! Molly had recently been spayed (not that you'd know from looking at her) so she wasn't allowed to run about too much, but Fern had a great time chasing the ball. I think we wore her out!


Afterwards we popped into a lovely local restaurant (I think it was called Poppylands) for a carvery. I forgot to ask if they did a veggie option and was going to just have trimmings with no meat, but they were absolutely lovely and insisted on sorting me out with a vegetable tart and some proper vegetarian gravy. My dad and brother's plates were piled high with meat and you can even go back for seconds if you have room, it was great value for money at around £7.50.

I'm absolutely knackered now but it was nice to spend some time with my dad and the dogs by the sea. I'd love to know if anyone else got up to anything fun for their Father's Day?

Bryony :)

Friday, 13 June 2014

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!

The Forum in Norwich have set up an open air screen for the summer to show the World Cup, Wimbledon and so on. Thursday nights are film night, and last night they showed Ghostbusters. I was so excited that I swapped my shift so I could go.


It was a beautiful evening for it and I really enjoyed myself. It was completely free too. Next Thursday they're showing Breakfast At Tiffany's, which is one of my favourite films so I'm really excited to see that.

If you live in Norwich, definitely check out the films they're showing as there's a lot of variety and it's something fun and free for everyone. Plus if you sit in Marzano's outside seating area you can enjoy a glass of wine at the same time.

Bryony :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Lumberjanes

Every Wednesday is 'Comic Book Day' for my boyfriend, which means he goes to the comic book shop to pick up his pull list. Sometimes I get to go with him, and he always says if I see anything I like the look of that he'll get it for me. I'm not much of a comic reader, I've read a few graphic novels and I enjoy X-Men/Wolverine stuff but I'm not a die hard fan or anything. However I am aware of the constant arguments within the comic world in regards to sexism and the lack of decent female characters.

This is why Lumberjanes grabbed my interest a few weeks ago. I liked the play on words for the title, so I googled it to find out more and liked what I read. When my boyfriend went back to the store a couple of days later he very kindly bought it for me. From the first issue, I fell in love. I was really pleased to see that it's entirely created by women, for a start. Not only that but all of the main characters are girls, and they're really great characters.


I told my boyfriend I was hooked and asked him to keep an eye for the next issue, which we spotted recently. It was just as good as the first, I was laughing out loud at parts. What's not to love about a group of normal girls having adventures and fighting off supernatural beings? My boyfriend has asked for it to be added to his pull list for me, and I was pleased to hear from the shop owner that a lot of people have also added it to their lists.

If you haven't already started reading this, I'd really recommend it. I can't wait to get my hands on issue #3! I'd also love to hear about any similar comics, if anyone has any recommendations?

Bryony :)

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Dairy Free Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a few friends over for dinner one evening this week. One of my friends is lactose intolerant so I decided to make a dairy free lemon and blueberry drizzle cake. I haven't had a chance to use my lovely Andrew James stand mixer in a while, so I was excited to get it out.


For the cake
120g dairy free margarine (or other butter alternative)
180g caster sugar
2 eggs
225g plain flour, sifted
150ml almond milk (or other milk alternative)
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp baking powder
100g blueberries

For the drizzle
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 2 lemons
Sugar to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mix the dairy free margarine and caster sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, ensuring not to over mix.

Sift half of the flour into the bowl and fold in, followed by all of the almond milk. Stir until well combined. Add the rest of the flour and fold in again, followed by the juice of 2 lemons. Stir until well combined. Add the baking powder and mix well before stirring in the blueberries. Pour into a tin and place in the oven to cook for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool on the side while you make the drizzle. Juice two lemons, add the lemon zest and some sugar to taste. Pour over the cake while it's still warm and shake some sugar over the top for decoration.


I don't think I added enough baking powder to my cake, as it didn't rise very much. Which is why I've said to use 2 teaspoons in the recipe. But other than that it was really tasty, my friends all enjoyed it and two of them even asked for seconds! It was really simple to make and you couldn't tell it was dairy free at all.




 Bryony :)

Friday, 6 June 2014

Dairy Free Vegetarian Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

Last night I had my first ever dinner party at my new house. Well, I say dinner party, I'm not sure it counts if you don't have a table for people to sit at. But I had a group of friends over for dinner, and it was the first time I'd cooked for more than two people in my new place.

As I am a recently converted vegetarian and two of my friends are also veggies, I decided to make a vegetarian shepherd's pie. I thought I'd use sweet potato for the topping instead of normal potato as I just really love sweet potato. One of my friends is also lactose intolerant, so I made sure the pie was dairy free too.


For the filling:
2 diced onions
5 diced carrots
300g quorn mince
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp marmite (optional)

For the topping:
6 medium sized sweet potatoes
Dairy free margarine
Almond milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180C. First chop the sweet potatoes and put them on to boil.

While the sweet potatoes are boiling, for the filling, cook the onions, carrots and quorn mince in a wok until almost cooked.

Then add the chopped tomatoes, crumble a vegetable stock cube over the top and add a teaspoon of marmite for extra flavour and leave it to simmer.

By this point the sweet potatoes should be cooked, drain them, add dairy free margarine and almond milk to taste and mash them.

Pour the filling into a dish and spread the sweet potato mash over the top before putting it in the oven for about 30-35 minutes (or until the sweet potato starts to brown).

I served it with a simple side salad of spinach, peppers and tomatoes with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Judging by the empty plates, it went down a treat!



I also made a dairy free lemon and blueberry drizzle cake for dessert, but I'll post the recipe for that another day. It was so lovely to have everyone round and it was a really fun evening, I'll definitely have to invite people over more often and expand my culinary skills!

Bryony :)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Polargram Prints

I've been wanting to get some of my instagram pictures printed for a while now, and after reading Hallfy's DIY post a few days ago I thought I'd try out Polargram.

You can order 12 prints for £6, 24 for £9 or 48 for £12. They come printed like little polaroid pictures, which I thought was super cute. I ordered 12 prints and they arrived today in an adorable little box (which I ripped open before I thought to photograph it) and there was even a little sweet inside. I love little touches like that.


These are only half of the pictures I ordered, as some were duplicates and I gave a couple of others away. Aren't they cute, though? I'm planning on buying some little frames so I can give some of these away as little gifts, and the rest I'm going to put up on my wall.

Bryony :)

Monday, 2 June 2014

Smoothies

When I moved in to my new house my dad gave me his old smoothie maker as he rarely used it. Three months later, my housemate and I finally got round to trying it out and we've since become addicted to smoothies. They're so easy to make, they taste better than store bought ones and you know exactly what's going into them.


For this particular smoothie we used:

1 banana
1 mango
10 strawberries
300ml (roughly) almond milk

We always use a banana as a kind of 'base' for the smoothie, then we chuck in whatever else we have lying around (you can buy bags of frozen berries and just chuck those straight in for an extra cool smoothie) and then we add almond milk, which is a great alternative to milk. I much prefer the taste to soya. We don't usually measure it out, I think we usually add around 300ml but we just pour some in and if the smoothie seems too thick we add a little more!


And here's the result! Delicious, refreshing smoothies with absolutely no preservatives or added sugar. We like to make ours feel extra special with some straws and a strawberry to garnish.

There are so many great variations of this recipe, you'll never get bored. I really enjoy making these in the morning when I don't feel like having a big breakfast. Plus you can make them even healthier by adding spinach, or kale (something I'm planning on trying soon, I'll write up another recipe if it's any good).

If anyone has any tasty smoothie recipes for me to try, let me know!

Bryony :)