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This Week’s Nails – Pink Glitter

Another fun weekend has come and gone here and we are now winding down and with a roast dinner in the oven and a Sky Box full of programmes to catch up on…I love a lazy Sunday afternoon!

My brother and his girlfriend arrived on Friday night so we headed up to the pub before I cooked us some Mexican food and we played a few hilarious rounds of Cards Against Humanity. Yesterday we headed into Bath for burgers and a wander before Ian and I headed out to a party. It was such a lovely and mild evening we were sat out in the garden until about midnight!

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Today’s manicure is really all about my new Barry M glitter topcoat in Pink Sapphire. This is a lovely formula, packed with silver strands and pink and silver hexes.

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I wanted a pale colour underneath so chose this lovely pastel pink by Nails Inc in Bloomsbury Way which I think was the perfect background.

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Some of the glitter pieces were slightly raised so I finished this look with a generous topcoat using Nails Inc’s Kensington Caviar Gel Effect Plumping Topcoat. I was really impressed at the longevity of this manicure – it lasted for 8 days with no chipping at all and despite not really being a huge fan of all things pink, I really loved this look!

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Latest Purchases #59 – Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Bath has recently had a new Kiehl’s store open and I remember telling Ian in passing that I was dying to get my hands on a bottle of their Midnight Recovery Concentrate, a cult beauty serum which has won rave reviews. So imagine my delight when he popped home recently with a huge Kiehl’s box…serious husband points earnt!

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First of all, I have to say how amazing the packaging and freebies were. For one little bottle, I managed to get a Grapefruit Body Cleanser (a shower gel) and three mini samples of Kiehl’s Ultimate Stength Hand Salve, Ultra Facial Cream and Midnight Recovery Eye cream.

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Priced at £35, the Midnight Recovery Concentrate is in the ‘treat’ category for me but you need such a tiny amount that I can see this lasting ages.

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There is a very herbal-botanical smell to the oil but it doesn’t linger too long on the skin. There is lavender in the formula, which I usually hate, but it isn’t too overpowering and I know some people find that this scent helps them relax and fall to sleep easier in the evening.

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Finally, I have to express my love for the pipette pump lid. It ensures you only get the few drops you need and it makes me feel like a scientist when I use it!

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I’ve only just started using this serum so cannot attest to its benefits as part of a daily beauty routine but it definitely feels like a treat for the skin overnight and I think it will come into its own over the next few months as the cooler weather and harsh central heating gives my skin a battering!

Have you got any more recommendations from Keihl’s? x

 

Beauty Review – September Birchbox

This month’s Birchbox arrived a few days ago with a ‘Happy Days’ theme. We’re not talking about The Fonz here but rather ways to keep yourself feeling good and for me September is one of those months where I could do with a little treat as us teachers start a new school year and feel the stress levels start to rise after a summer off!

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Here was my first peek in the box:

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First up these tasty Pineapple pieces from Urban Fruit. My work lunches have been nigh on virtuous lately so these fruity bites should help me keep up the good work.

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I had been emailed a few weeks earlier by Birchbox asking me to make my Model Co choice for the box and I chose this lovely lip lacquer in Morocco. This 90s nude shade is huge at the moment thanks to Kylie Jenner et al so I decided to try it. I remember everyone going mad for Rimmel’s Coffee Shimmer and Heather Shimmer lipsticks when I was at school and this reminds me of that but without the naff frosted finish. This lip gloss is a bit sticky but I do like the colour.

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Next, a perfectly-timed item as my current hair oil has just run out! I love using hair oils a couple of times a week to keep my tips from getting too dry and this offering from Agave looks like it will do the trick.

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I was really happy to get a little pot of Benefit’s It’s Potent eye cream. I love the make-up from this brand but haven’t tried much of their skincare. I have heard positive things about this eye cream so it will be the next one I trial after my current Vichy one is finished.

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I moaned a few months ago about not getting a Beauty Blender egg in my Birchbox when a friend of mine did and it’s like they read my mind and sent me one complete with a handy solid soap to clean it with. I did buy a cheap Primark dupe of this foundation applicator recently but haven’t tested it out yet so I think I will give the original a go this week.

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Next, a little bottle of Korres’ Citrus Body Milk. This smells amazing and I like the shower and body products from Korres. I am going away a couple of times next month so this travel-sized moisturiser will come in handy.

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Finally, a little photo clip which can be used to display your favourite Polaroid or postcard. I decided to try it out with my birthday card from my brother!

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Overall, I’m pleased with this month’s offerings. There were a few items that I had run out of which saves me a trip to the shop plus some things I had wanted to try anyway! I think Birchbox met their brief on this box as it definitely made me feel happy!

Recipe – Pear, Cherry and Walnut Chocolate Tart

Hello and Happy Sunday!

It’s a glorious day here. Ian is off on a run so I have all morning to myself to potter, blog and read the papers…heavenly.

Today’s recipe was a slightly rushed and experimental job but one that tasted divine! Ian and I had a friend over for dinner last week and I had done most of the prep the night before meaning I could just pop home from work, heat up the food and not spend the evening flapping about in the kitchen. To make life easier for myself, I had even bought a pudding and was all ready to go when an hour before our guest arrived, I decided that I would make a dessert from scratch…why do I do these things to myself!

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This chocolate tart is the result of my madness and was rather tasty, if a little sweet due to the glace cherries (luckily I have inherited my mother’s ridiculously sweet tooth!). Think of gooey chocolate brownie, with sweet poached pears and the crunch of nuts all in a crumbly biscuit base. I think if I made this next time, I would try it without the cherries and possibly swap the walnuts for hazelnuts…I’m getting excited just typing that!

Now, I cannot continue without pointing out my massive baking error which will become apparent when you see the pictures below. I started baking my pastry case with baking beans inside and forgot to set the timer. I thought enough time had passed to remove the beans but it most definitely hadn’t which caused the baking beans to leave a lovely imprint on the inside of my pastry case! You definitely couldn’t taste this error (and I think it actually looked very cool!) but nevertheless, I will know for next time!

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Ingredients

1 packet of shortcrust pastry

3 pears, cored, peeled and halved

100g of caster sugar

100ml of water

A piece of orange peel

40g of good quality dark chocolate

30g of butter

150g of golden syrup

1 egg

Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

50g of walnuts

50g of glace cherries

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 200°C, Gas Mark 6
  • Roll out your pastry and line your pie tin
  • Tip in your baking beans and bake for 10 minutes or so then set aside to cool
  • Next, poach your pears by putting half the sugar, the water and orange rind in to a small panpear12
  • Add the pears and bring to the boil before simmering for about 10 minutes then drain and allow the pears to cool
  • Melt your chocolate either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • Add the butter and mix wellpear13
  • In another pan (quite a bit of washing up involved with this recipe! Sorry!) heat the remaining sugar and golden syrup until the sugar has melted and simmer for 2-3 minutespear6
  • Whisk your egg into the chocolate mixture, then add the syrup, vanilla extract, nuts and cherries
  • Lay your cooled pears on to the pastry basepear1
  • Pour over the chocolate mixturepear2
  • Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy!pear3

Restaurant Review – Cod ‘N’ Wok, Minehead

This weekend couldn’t come soon enough. We aren’t doing anything particularly spectacular but after a busier than usual week, it gives us a chance to breathe and reboot before it all starts again on Monday.

Ian turned 30 on Tuesday and did it in style with a new BMW! I’m not sure my curly hair is particularly suited to a convertible but I think some pretty silk scarves may sort that out.

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I still think of us as being in our early twenties…where did the years go?!

I also walked to the top of the Westbury White Horse with my year group yesterday which made for a good excuse for a long bath followed by chip-shop fish and chips for dinner last night!

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Today, I wanted to share a very special little restaurant, located in the town I grew up in. It is special to me as my Dad is one of the chefs there so I will try my best not to be too biased!

Minehead is a seaside town, not quite as picturesque as it could be due to the drones of stag and hen parties that seem to invade the pubs at weekends (we have a Butlins located here!), but Cod ‘N’ Wok play homage to their location with a lovely British seaside town theme. From the nautical fabric and fish nets to the union Jack hand-painted tables, there are little touches like this throughout the restaurant which make it cosy and fresh.

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Onto the name: Cod ‘N’ Wok. The first part stands for their traditional chip shop menu which includes fresh cod, triple cooked chips and local butchers’ sausages. The Wok part refers to the other half of the menu which is inspired by Malaysian and Thai flavours and it was cool to see the wok light fittings too!

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I can attest to how authentic and fresh the ingredients are here. Every morning, my Dad and his colleagues get the pestle and mortar out and grind together fresh ingredients to make the pastes and bases for their oriental sauces…no packets here!

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A special mention to the lovely Greg too who cooks a mean Beef Redang and is one of the few people I know who could put up with spending all week in a kitchen with my Dad!

Anyway, onto what we ordered…

I had the duck which was stir-fried in a Hoi Sin sauce and served with courgettes and spring onions. This was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy and the duck was so tender I was reluctant to share this dish!

My Mum had their Indonesian peanut chicken curry which was creamy and delicious with a nice crunch of peanuts too.

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Ian opted for Thai red curry with chicken and I was really impressed that you could up the spice factor when ordering so Ian’s came with a few more chillies than I would choose but the flavours were amazing and you could tell this was homemade and not out of a jar!

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To go with our meals we had a combination of egg fried rice and triple cooked chips with a few rotis (Indian dipping breads) and crackers for mopping up the last of the sauces.

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We all loved our food – fresh, vibrant and it was lovely to be able to mix and match the East and West…who knew fusion food would reach little old Minehead! Hehe

This is a relatively new restaurant and I know they will do really well as the word spreads. I am heading back to see my parents again in a few weeks and am already trying to decide which dish I will try next…keep up the good work boys! x

 

Weekends at the Seaside

It was another good food-filled weekend round these parts. Ian and I headed to Minehead for the annual Ale and Cider Festival and to start his 30th birthday celebrations. We try to go most years as we can stay with my parents and not have to worry about a designated driver – ideal!

Held at Minehead train station, this little festival has grown over the years since we started going and it was packed when we arrived on Saturday afternoon. We sampled a few ales and ciders and enjoyed the sunshine sat alongside the train tracks. I loved some of the ale names – my particular favourite this year was ‘Brew Springsteen’ and who doesn’t love a good beer pun?!

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We had a little beer break to go and eat at my Dad’s new restaurant (review coming soon!) but popped back along that evening for a night cap or two. There were live bands playing old school metal which we loved and it was such a good atmosphere – we’re already looking forward to next year!

Today we had a lazy morning, a spot of shopping and then just had time to watch my brother play (and win!) in his tennis final before driving home.

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I have a super busy week ahead with meetings, courses, birthdays and house guests as well as the usual craziness of teaching so posts may be slightly sporadic as I try to fit in work and sleep!

 

This Week’s Nails – Essie’s Hide and Go Chic

I don’t usually dedicate a whole post to a new nail varnish but I think I can make an exception for Essie!

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I was on the look-out for a deep autumnal shade for my nails and fell in love with this colour. Hide and Go Chic (gotta love the name!) is from Essie’s Spring 2014 collection but I think it is well suited to this time of year. It is a deep, jewelled blue turquoise but very easy to wear.

The formula is great and you could probably get away with just one coat but I layered on a second just so that it lasted a bit longer.

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I paired this colour with a set of nail wraps, also from Essie. This gorgeous calligraphy print, Love to Love You, was really easy to apply and have so far lasted well after 4 days.

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It’s Bake Off time now so I’m afraid today’s post is going to be short but sweet! x

 

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