You might have noticed something slightly different about my appearance of late. A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to brave the shave for the Little Princess Trust’s #HairToSpare campaign, and get my noggin completely shaved for charity! Read More
Who doesn’t love a cheeky slab of cake washed down with a steaming hot brew?! NO-ONE. Don’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise; they are fibbing, and don’t deserve your time, cake, or coffee making skills. They are brew-deniers!
For those of us who do like to partake in a spot of sugar indulgence, it’s that time of year again where those fantastic folk Macmillan are hosting their World’s Biggest Coffee Morning tomorrow, Friday 25th September, to raise awareness and vital funds for their worthy cause.
Not one to pass up the opportunity to eat a lot of cake, I jumped at the offer to get involved with all the action when those kind folks over at M&S sent me some cake treats to host my own little get-together.
If there’s one shop who knows how to make cake well, it’s M&S. Even their packet sponges taste absolutely blimmin’ delicious, and are delightfully home-made enough for you to pass them off as your own (it’s ok, I won’t tell).
Also, can we talk about how adorable this apron is please?! You can get your mitts on one from M&S and know that you’re doing your bit to help out Macmillan -these ruffles are perfect for dishing up a bit of cake and supping a cheeky brew.
To find out more about the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and how you can get involved, take a look at the Macmillan website here.
A massive thanks to Marks and Spencers for my cake and apron!
Not only is Bristol full of amazing things to see and do, but we’ve got our fair share of awesome businesses, too. One such fantastic business which up until recently I had no idea resided in our fair city is the brilliant Pukka herbs, who manufacture, amongst other things, these delicious herbal brews – Pukka Teas.
I was lucky enough to be sent a few of their most popular concoctions, as well as a couple of new varieties (or should that be varie-teas) to test out. Tom recently gave up caffeine, so was over the moon when this little parcel arrived; he’s been acquainting himself with Pukka ever since giving up the bad stuff a few weeks ago, and is a massive fan of their teas.
As well as Tom’s fave, Revitalise, I sampled Three Ginger, Three Mint, Three Camomile, Lemon Ginger & Manuka Honey, and new variety Detox with lemon, a heady blend of aniseed, fennel and cardamom. I could definitely smell this last one when I picked up the box from the postie!
I started with a cup of my absolute favourite, Three Mint. I love mint tea, it’s such a simple flavour, plus it’s brilliant for digestion, making it an ideal choice for after dinner refreshment. Another one of my favourites is their Three Ginger, which is also great for settling stomachs, but with a spicy and warming kick. Lush! The Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey was also delicious – spicy like the Three Ginger but with a light refreshing lemon twist, and would be perfect if you’re a little under the weather.
One concoction I wasn’t so keen on was the lemon Detox tea, which I was a bit disappointed about – anything which promises to spring clean your insides is a winner in my book. The trouble is, I’m not so keen on fennel, which this particular brew has bags of. I think I’ll stick to my mint and ginger for cleansing my tummy!
Having said that, I’m completely sold on the Three Camomile, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I never really bothered to try camomile tea; I’d always stuck to my guns and gone with tried-and-tested flavours, plus camomile doesn’t really smell like much when it’s sitting in the bag unbrewed. How wrong I was! It’s such a beautiful delicate flavour, and really does wonders for unwinding and clearing your head before bed. I think it could be my new favourite.
Not only do Pukka make delicious herbal brews and supplements, they’re also doing their bit for charity, too. On 29th May, Pukka will be hosting a Roaring 20’s Fundraiser at the ever-awesome Trinity centre in Bristol. Alongside cocktails, cakes, a raffle, photobooth and a swinging jazz band, there will also be a prize for the best dressed, so get your glad rags on! Tickets are £15, with proceeds going towards Action Medical Research.
The week before last I was invited along to a special Marks & Spencer Christmas event in Cribbs Causeway – a chance to catch up with some of my favourite bloggers and share a drink whilst scoffing a sausage roll or two!
I think it’s fair to say that Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a bit of ‘magic and sparkle’ from Marks, and they most certainly won’t let you down this year – as well as sampling the absolutely delicious treats they have for the Christmas dinner table it was a chance to catch up with the season’s latest trends… there’s a lot of gold and glitter! There was also a beauty bar where I got my nails painted a very festive shade by Leighton Denny, and Emily had tested out a new shade of lippy.
We were also all entered into a draw, and I was pretty shocked to find my name read out! It was my job to be one of the M&S Christmas fairies, and pick out gifts for a charity of my choice. Enlisting the help of Emily, Lyzi and Megan, we wandered off around M&S to pick out some special toys (including a 1D puzzle, which no Christmas would be complete without) which I then chose to donate to Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal.
All in all it was a very festive evening, and it was so lovely to catch up with blog friends, and meet new ones too. Thanks to Marks and Spencer’s for such a lovely event, and for letting me be a fairy for the evening!
Well, hasn’t this been a right old food filled week so far? Hot off the heels of my Yo! Sushi date on Monday, yesterday morning I contributed to a charity brunch event at work, to help raise money for very worthy cause, Street Child.
The idea was to fill the tables with breakfast and lunch-type foods, which people could pick at throughout the morning, and leave a small donation. I brought along ham and cheese croissants, plus a mountain of carbs in various forms – mini pancakes, waffles and crumpets, plus that good old favourite brekkie staple, peanut butter. I’ve been trying to avoid too much dairy recently, and have found a whole load of tasty milk alternatives, and so brought along some almond milk to try and convert the masses. No one drank it. Sad face.
The whole shebang was supposed to be a casual 9-11 come-along-and-nibble-what-you-fancy affair, but people began lingering shortly before 9, and so in our kindness we opened it 10 mins early, only for the whole thing to be ravaged by half past. The moment word spread that there was a pile of scones and a whole pound of clotted cream in the upstairs kitchen, people were understandably flocking in droves.
Still, we managed to raise over a hundred quid for a very worthy cause. I think the breakfast/brunch idea is excellent for a small workplace to raise some dollar for charity, although I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so popular! Would you try one at your work?
I was recently contacted by a lovely chap on behalf of Age UK, who had seen my post about Innocent’s Big Knit project. He informed me of another campaign which Age UK run at this time of year called Spread the Warmth, which aims to keep older people warm this winter, and prevent thousands of elderly people dying needlessly because of the cold weather. I love old people, they are adorable, and I find it incredibly upsetting that they can die by simply not having the means to keep warm. It’s the simple things which people need help with – warm clothes, hot home-cooked meals, and help with heating and electricity bills.
With our help, Age UK can help old people in need this winter by providing just that – help where it is most needed, with a winter fuel allowance to make sure older people aren’t sitting in the cold this Christmas. Just £10 donated can buy a ‘Staying Warm Pack’, containing two items of warm clothing, a selection of warming food and drinks, a thermometer and important information on staying warm over the festive period. So, do you really need that extra pair of slipper socks or box of fancy chocolates?
With keeping cosy in mind, here are my own personal top five tips on how to keep warm this winter:
1. Warm your Cockles
Everyone knows that a little drop of the strong stuff is good for warming your belly up, and even fending off colds (not medically proven… yet!). Port and brandy, milk and whiskey, rum and pep – it’s up to you to find your favourite; recently I’ve been obsessing over Ovaltine and Baileys, I cannot believe it’s taken me 23 long years to come up with that combination, words cannot describe how good it tastes! Of course, always remember to drink sensibly folks, but seriously, Christmas without a drink is like a cheese sandwich without pickle. It’s just wrong.
2. Get some Starch in Ya
Pies, porridge, baked potatoes – fill up your tum with warm starchy carbs, winter is not the time for dieting! My absolute favourite thing this time of year is Nigella’s loaded potato skins, wonderfully warming and filling, and they have all your five a day – cheese, bacon, sour cream, potato, and… er… bacon?
3. Knit an awesome warm hat
Get those knitting needles out, grab some chunky wool and knit yourself a Christmassy hat! Back in the summer I knitted a large woolly hat and it could not have been easier. Get some massive size 12 needles and some Rowan Big Wool, cast on approx. 38 stitches and begin a rib knit (K2, P2 for alternating rows) until you are happy with the length. Begin decreasing by knitting two stitches together for two rows. Thread the wool through the remaining loops, pull tight and secure. Make a giant pom pom for the top, sew it on and you’re done! (If you get stuck, you could always make a giant version of this hat?)
4. Crochet a Granny blanket
Me and crochet have a love/hate relationship. I recently learned how to crochet, promptly forgot, threw a hissy fit, hated it, relearned, and fell in love with it all over again. One good thing about crochet is once you get over the mind boggling initial learning process it really is quite straight forward, and is instantly more rewarding than knitting because whatever you are making begins to come into shape a lot quicker. I found a very helpful pin the other day taking you step-by-step through the process, which is perfect for a novice crocheter, such as myself. A granny blanket is an ideal first project because you can build it up to be as big or as dainty as you like, and is simple to construct. Ravelry have some excellent free patterns, or a browse on Pinterest will throw up some good inspiration.
5. Draw those curtains and feel festive
Last but certainly not least, start to feel goddamn festive! Draw the curtains, light some candles, decorate your tree, warm some milk, watch Elf and listen to a bit of Buble. Everyone has their own Christmas traditions for helping them get in the festive mood and feel cosy. What are yours?
For more information on Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign, including ways in which you can donate to this worthy cause, head on over to their website.
You may remember I while back I organised a ‘Frock Swap‘ at work, for people to donate their unwanted clothes and get something in return for nowt! The idea is you donate, pay a suggested donation of £2 or £3, and pick up some new bits which take your fancy.
Well, last night I did much of the same thing, organising a Beauty Swap at work in aid of the Katie Piper Foundation.
I’m part of the so-called ‘Ministry of Giving’ at Lovehoney, organising fundraising events for various charities of our choosing. I love organising things at work – everyone is so generous with their time and donations, and they are always such fun events. Plus you get something new for free!
Now, I know what you are all thinking – “Beauty swap?! Ew. That sounds well unhygenic!” and at first, so did I. But hey, there are rules, people. Things for swapping include new brushes, used-once eyeshadows, nail varnish and perfume, in a presentable condition. Mascara, lipgloss and wand concealers are a no-no! We don’t want any styes, thanks.
It means you can get rid of all those unwanted 3-for-2 items, testers and misjudged Christmas gifts which become accumulated at the back of your bathroom cupboard, whilst picking up something new that you are far more likely to get some use out of. I’m all about downsizing my toiletries at the moment – not much room in a boat bathroom!
I am now fast becoming the swap-shop queen, this was the third event that I have helped organise, and looking forward to the next one! Have you ever swapped make up with anyone? You should try it!
It was a busy one.
We went to Bristol Internation Balloon Fiesta on Thursday night for the ‘nightglow’ event – dozens of balloons lighting up in time to music; it was a pretty epic affair.
We met two really lovely families, one of which let us share their picnic blanket. It reminded me of how nice a city Bristol is, everyone around us seemed to be having a really good time, it was a really laid back atmosphere.
However, I never got to have a go on the carousel. Sad times.
We planned to go back to the fiesta on Friday and Saturday, but to be honest there was no need – we live about a 10 minute walk away from Ashton Court and everything which was happening at the fiesta we could see from our bathroom window!
Fast forward to Sunday, and I undertook a very tiring journey…
It was 15 miles of some of the roughest and most difficult surfaces I have ever skated on, but it was the most amazing experience. I was separated for most of it from the rest of the group, preferring the ‘slow and steady’ approach. The rougher parts really were hard, and only about 3 miles in I contemplated giving up, unable to take the vibration from the tarmac on my ankles and shins. I persevered, however, and on the smoother parts of the path it was thoroughly enjoyable skating with ease through the trees, taking in the sights beyond the edge of the path.
We stopped in Bitton to pick up some more travellers and saw a steam train! Y’all know how excitable I am around trains, this one tooted his whistle at us when it went past.
We finally made it into Bath after roughly 2 and a half hours of ankle-vibrating pain, and I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of myself. If you told me 5 years ago I would make a 15 mile journey on skates, not a car, I would have laughed in your face. I guess derby really can change a person.
If you would like to be an absolute babe and donate some money to the cause, you can find the donating page here. Thanks!
Obviously, I was absolutely Hank Marvin after my long day, and was craving cake.
I’d seen this pin on Pinterest well over a year ago for a Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake, and had never got round to making it. I’ve never been the biggest fan of blueberries, but there was something about these pictures which had me craving this cake every time I looked at it. The power of good photography!
I made the cake and served it with creme fraiche, then suitably demolished it.
Hope you all had awesome weekends, too!