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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sunday Songs #1: Aiden

I wasn't sure where to start with this so in the end I've just gone for the most-played song in my iTunes - "Scavengers of the Damned" by Aiden. This is odd, because Aiden are far from one of my favourite bands, but I do love this song and play it regularly, so there we go. I know it's not to everyone's liking, but my music tastes are very eclectic so don't give up on me just yet...

Friday, 29 July 2011

Foodie Friday #1: Trout with Veggie Couscous

This is a meal I like to have when I don't have much time and/or energy to be spending ages cooking, but still want something cheap and healthier than chicken nuggets or frozen pizza.
I didn't try trout until last year but find it to be like salmon only cheaper, tastier, and quicker to cook! This whole meal can be prepared in as long as it takes to pre-heat an oven and cook a piece of trout - around 20 minutes.

I start by drizzling the trout with olive oil and lemon juice in a baking tin, sprinkling with tarragon, paprika, and coriander, and shoving in the pre-heated oven at 180°C for 12-14 minutes.
Tip: Rubbing the skin side with oil as well stops it sticking to the tray!
Whilst the oven is pre-heating I start preparing my vegetables - this varies depending what's in my fridge but in this case included onion, garlic, carrot sticks, green beans, pepper, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, peas, and raisins. Once all the vegetables are chopped, washed, and peeled, and the trout is in the oven, I throw the veggies in a wok with a splash of olive oil and stir-fry until soft.

Meanwhile, I boil the kettle and add the boiled water to couscous with a pinch of salt and a little butter. Once the water has absorbed I add a little tomato puree before mixing into the stir-fried vegetables. If using peas and/or raisins I throw these in the wok about a minute before the couscous.
Hard to photograph due to the steam..!

You're right, that is a lot. I fridge-d half for lunch the next day!
 I then serve the trout over the stir-fried veg couscous.

What are your go-to meals when you need something quick and easy but still healthy?
I'm think of making "Foodie Friday" a bit of a regular feature, what do you think?

(If you're interested, I had the rest of the couscous with chopped chicken breast for lunch, and then with prawns for tea. Mmmm.)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

NOTD: Pink & Black

This was a very quick, I'm-bored-of-my-nails, type manicure, using my Barry M Nail Paint in '309 Strawberry Pink', along with Missguided Splash in 'Missfit', and a small M&S polish which was a gift and has no name/number, but it's a bright hot pink as you can see here:
L-R: 'Missfit', 'Strawberry Pink', unknown M&S shade.
The Barry M is a pastel-pink shade which, unlike every other Barry M Nail Paint I've ever tried (a not insignificant number) did not go on particularly well; it was streaky and had to be applied in very thin coats or it dragged; I think this is due to the colour. 'Missfit' is a lovely black with flecks of golden glitter which looks gorgeous on its own and I've used it with reds before as well. The unknown M&S shade is just a hot-pink colour which goes on nicely and covers well.
Please excuse my scabby-looking fingers in the next couple of shots; I appear to have been allergic to something and my eczema has flared up.

This was my first attempt at leopard print nails and I'm pleased with how it's turned out, especially considering I was using a cocktail stick as I have yet to invest in a nail art tool. The daisy on my ring finger, however, did not come out as well as I had hoped. Oh well...

What do you think? What are your favourite easy manicures?


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

What's In My Handbag?

I've always enjoyed other people's "What's in my handbag" posts (mainly because I'm nosy as hell) and thought I'd share mine!
So, here is my handbag:

It's nothing special, just a black (p)leather one from TKMaxx, I think it was about £25 or so. It was selected on the basis of being big enough for me to carry an inordinate amount of stuff round with me, having sufficient pockets that I'd have a chance of finding said stuff when needed, and being considerably less broken than my previous handbag. I also liked the lining but that was incidental given that the strap on its predecessor broke when I was meant to be meeting a friend and I needed a speedy replacement.

No kitchen sink! That's about all I'm missing...
And here is all the crap I carry around with me on a day-to-day basis. Come September when I start back at uni you can expect this to also include refill pads, plastic wallets full of notes, text books and the like. I have recently had The Great Annual Bus Ticket Purge and thrown away God knows how many receipts and so on, so it's currently quite well organised *is proud*

Neutrogena hand cream because I suffer from eczema quite badly and it's the only thing that helps; 3D glasses from my (second) outing to see Harry Potter the other day; Jane Norman purse containing bank cards, driving licence and every loyalty card going, as well as a book of 2nd Class stamps and about £6.50 in cash; keys; inhaler; hairbrush.

My beloved pink diary which I'd be lost without - it's looking a bit grubby from having lived in my handbag for the last seven months; pens; notebook in which I write things like shopping lists and things I have to remember to do; headphones; sunglasses (Primark - £1) because I am life's eternal optimist.

A ridiculous quantity of hair bobbles and grips; Kleenex; chewing gum; bottle of water; scarf (from Primark last year, I think it was about £3)

Ah. My lip-product obsession is revealed... Also FCUK cool down spray which I've had years and rarely use even though it smells nice!

And this is my Purse of Useful Things. The purse itself was, I think, £1.49 from Superdrug, and contains:
Compeed, Ibuprofen, Strepsils, Plasters, Nail file, Nail clippers, Tweezers, yet more hair grips, wet wipes (kindly donated by KFC because I'm just that classy), mirror, spare earrings, and emergency chocolate.

So, there you have the everyday contents of my bag. 
What are your handbag essentials? Anything I should be carrying in case of Zombie apocalypses or other such unforeseen eventualities?


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Hello there Sailor!

Hi there!
I've decided to start a blog as an attempt at stopping myself going crazy whilst I'm off Uni over the summer. I've enjoyed reading lots of blogs on various topics recently, and thought I'd give it a bit of a go myself.
My first post is a bit of an introduction to me, so here are ten facts about me:
  1. I love McFly. I've loved them since I heard their first single, I know their birthdays better than those of my own family, I randomly and compulsively tell people facts about them that make me come across as a little bit mental, and I dread to think what life would be like without them. McFly
  2. I'm 19 but am apparently old beyond my years; I enjoy baking, cross-words, nice walks in the park, and reading in bed.
  3. I am a hopeless linguaphile - I love big words, I love foreign languages (I insisted on attempting Spanish in Benidorm, despite never having actually learnt Spanish, for example), and I love to know where words come from, hence my frantic Google-ing of local street names upon moving house earlier in the month.
  4. I'm a Psychology student in Sheffield and I've just finished my second year. Don't ask me what I want to do when I graduate because it involves an impractical combination of MORE STUDY IN EVERY SUBJECT EVER, running a hotel, making cakes, helping people in some as-yet unspecified way, and hiding in my bed for evermore.
  5. I'm a country girl and grew up on a farm. I don't do well in cities, and I don't remember being happier than a day I spent recently with my brother (he's 17) digging holes in the back garden and getting covered in mud because my mam got fed up of us being in the house driving her mad, and told us to go and play outside, to our dad's absolute horror...
  6. I should have been a boy, evidenced by the aforementioned love of mud and also tractors, diggers and JCBs, football, bacon, use of the word 'lad', boobs, and a general lack of lady-like features. I was essentially raised as a boy and spent childhood weekends on such tasks as digging ditches, bricklaying, driving tractors, concreting, and helping muck out.
  7. I'm a very rational person; my mam has said I'm too logical for my own good and she's probably not wrong. I'm an atheist because God does not seem like a reasonable explanation for anything to me. I tend to have a clear head no matter what and don't stress over things like airports, exams, or break-ups, which may be a good thing or it may not. Leaning towards good.
  8. I'm a self-confessed grammar Nazi and have been known, on more than one occasion, to correct misplaced apostrophes on signs. I have never been prouder than the day I was told my brother had pointed out a "bad apostrophe", as I refer to them, to my mam.
  9. I have recently succumbed to my genes and admitted that, actually, I quite enjoy exercise, as one would expect with a national-standard triathlete for a brother and a mother who comes from a family of cross-country runners. This has prompted me to join a gym (usually attended around 1am - hello free use of the weights without having to fight massive muscly men!) and taking up running with my housemate.
  10. I read a lot, although less than I used to, as I've found I just don't have the time with Uni. I'm currently reading 'Coming Down Fast', a biography of Charles Manson by Simon Wells, and 'River God' by Wilbur Smith, which is about Ancient Egypt. I usually have anything up to eight or nine books on the go so this is actually quite controlled by my standards!

I thought I'd finish up with a picture of myself, so you can get an idea of what you're dealing with! So, here I am, in a National Trust Tea Room in North Yorkshire (see, old lady!) which I visited recently one Sunday morning with some friends.

This post has been very word-heavy, sorry about that, I promise I'll try to rein myself in a little from now on! Anyway, in future, you can expect such things as what I've been buying (very little recently as I'm a poor student who can't find a job), doing, making, cooking and reading.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know a little about me and if you'd like to tell me a random fact about yourself, I'd love to hear it!

Thanks for reading xo
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