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Latest Purchases #79 – A Summery Primark Haul

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! We were back at the Apple shop this morning to fix my smashed iPhone screen which was slight deja-vu having tried to sort it yesterday, but we headed to Bills for brunch so it was well worth the trip!

I went on a little trip to Primark recently and picked up some bits and bobs for summer: footwear, pjs, homeware, jewellery…a little bit of everything.

First up the shoes. I have to admit that I went a little bit mad here (5 pairs!) but I am operating a strict one-in-one-out policy in my shoe collection and I know I will definitely get good wear out of all of them.

Although we don’t have too strict a dress code at work, I do like to wear shoes as opposed to flip flops or sandals so I picked up a couple of pairs of Primark’s slipper-style ballet pumps in black and leopard print.

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I also bought pair of cream crochet pumps which I think are just a little bit smarter than espadrilles.

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I love these black laser-cut sandals which are flat but I think look a bit dressier than usual.

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Finally, I had been after a pair of sliders after seeing them everywhere this season and found these snakeskin-effect ones. They are so comfortable and I think they look very on-trend and much more expensive than they were.

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A few homeware pieces next. I had been after some grey and pink accessories to finish off the look of our newly-decorated guest bedroom and found this grey-striped and pretty pink one. I had been looking at similar striped ones from John Lewis so these were a bargain in comparison.

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Sticking with the pink theme, I got this Red Berry and Jasmine candle. I’m not sure how good Primark candles are but I mainly bought this for the colour.

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I went a bit mad on candle holders too and bought a set of these purple geometric ones and some white ones. I remember reading on an interiors blog that these things always look better in threes so there was a reason for buying so many! My only niggle is that the price stickers on them are so sticky they leave a really horrible patch when you try to peel them off…I hate it when products do that!

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Onto the clothes now and these bleached jeans. I wanted a pair of pale jeans that weren’t white and these fit the bill perfectly. The acid-wash look is very cool and they are light and summery.

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My bargain of the day was this pineapple t-shirt which was reduced to £1! I bought it a couple of sizes bigger and plan to wear it as a pyjama top.

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Talking of pyjamas, I picked up these trousers in the ‘loungewear’ section. I love the print on them and I don’t think they look too pyjama-esque. I have an essay to write this week and I can see myself wearing these as I procrastinate write.

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Finally, a baggy waterfall cardigan in a cool Aztec print. I actually bought this in an XS size as I wanted it to be loose but not swamp me. This is the perfect jacket to throw on in this transitional period where it isn’t quite warm enough to leave the house without a jacket but you don’t want to be weighed down by a big winter coat.

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On to the accessories now and it wouldn’t be a blogger’s summer haul without a flower crown! I jest, but I did pick up this small crown with the intention of wearing it to a summer BBQ – I think these are so pretty.

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Some bracelets next – I like this mix of gold, silver and rose gold.

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This may be TMI but I had to show you these cute pants…they have sausage dogs on them!

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A boring buy next but necessary to keep your feet smelling fresh – some ‘footies’.

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And finally, a new handbag and another item that looks so much more expensive than it is. I love the shape of this bag and the detailing in the design. It isn’t huge but that means I won’t overpack it with stuff I don’t need and I like that I can wear this on the shoulder or across the body.

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Sunday Catch-up #21

It is finally half term and we’ve had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend so far. This week I have been to Hampton Court Palace, started a new book and managed to smash my iphone screen!

This week I have been…

Making: a bonfire with Ian

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Going: to a food festival in Bradford on Avon

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Wearing: big hats

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Eating: a naughty hot dog at Grillstock

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Drinking: cold beers in the park

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Reading: a new thriller – it’s not my usual style but I’m finding it gripping

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Watching: the rest of House of Cards – another great series!

Buying: earrings and bracelets

Planning: my week off

Cooking: swordfish steaks tonight

Baking: Yorkshire puds again

Writing: healthy meal plans…bring on the kale and quinoa!

Favouriting: ‘negative nail’ manicures – I’ll be trying to recreate them this week!

Working on: not wobbling so much when doing yoga!

Trying to decide: what to get my bestie for her 30th next month

Wishing: I had remembered to put on sun tan lotion this weekend #burntarms

Enjoying: a visit to beautiful Hampton Court Palace with my class

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Needing: to fix my poor iphone screen

Feeling: like I want to spend more time outside

Giggling at: the state of my hair after a drive with the top down in Ian’s car!

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Recipe – Easy Nasi Goreng

It seems as though today was meant to be the nicest of this Bank Holiday weekend so I was determined to spend as much of it outside as possible. Ian and I headed to our nearest town, Bradford on Avon, for coffee, a food festival and picnic along the river before heading home for a spot of gardening and a good book in the sunshine…pretty perfect day!

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Today I wanted to share a quick and easy Malaysian rice recipe that is a great midweek option. I use a jar of Nasi Goreng paste for this which I know isn’t 100% authentic but, if you don’t have time to shop for lots of herbs and spices and grind up the paste, is a decent shortcut. I have made my own curry pastes before and have to say the jar options are really just as good!

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This paste is a really good cupboard staple to have as you just need to add rice then a mixture of vegetables, fish, tofu or meat and you are good to go – think of this as a spiced up version of egg fried rice!

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Ingredients

A glug of vegetable oil

A garlic clove

A pinch of dried chili flakes

One tray of fresh prawns

A few tablespoons of Nasi Goreng paste

A mixture of vegetables – I used baby sweetcorn, green beans and broccoli

Enough cooked egg fried rice for two people – see my recipe here 

How to make it

  • Begin by heating your oil on medium heat and lightly frying the garlic and chili flakes
  • Add your prawns

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  • Next, add the Nasi Goreng paste and give everything a good stir
  • Add your vegetables then tip in the rice

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  • Mix well and if needed, add a spoonful of water
  • Season with some soy sauce (or chili sauce if you want some extra spice!)
  • Serve with roti and a cold beer

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Latest Purchases #78 – A Teeth and Nails Combo

Finally, it’s half term! The last week of term always seems longer than usual but I am happy to have a whole week off stretched out in front of me plus a three day weekend with Ian to enjoy.

Today, I wanted to share a little bargain I picked up in Boots recently. I meant to write this post as soon as I bought it so I hope the offer is still running! Nails Inc – one of my favourite nail varnish brands – has teamed up with Colgate for a great teeth and nails deal.

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When you buy a tube of Colgate’s Max White One Optic toothpaste, you can get a free Nails Inc nail varnish in a choice of three shades – a bright blue, an orange-toned red or a pastel pink. There have been similar deals like this in the past and everyone needs toothpaste, don’t they?!

The toothpaste itself is fine – a bright blue colour that claims to whiten teeth – but it was the nail varnish I was keen to try. I picked up the blue colour which reminded me so much of Baker Street – bright yet creamy and a real summery blue. This shade is called Optic Wave and I really like it. Annoyingly, I received an almost identical shade from Wah Nails in this month’s Birchbox but I can see myself wearing them a lot this summer.

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I painted the Nails Inc shade on my both my finger and toe nails straightaway but couldn’t resist jazzing my manicure up a bit.

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I love bright blue and white together (think Mediterranean buildings and china plates!) so used a layer of white Mosaic Effects nail varnish on my thumb and fourth finger. I’m not sure what the ‘mosaic’ name is all about as it was very similar to the standard crackle-effect nail polishes but I like the final look and love the fact this shade was a freebie! x

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Restaurant Review – The Stable, Bristol

I’ve had a lovely yet tiring day with my class on a visit to Hampton Court Palace. It was really stunning although I don’t feel like doing much more than eating my dinner and watching some TV this evening!

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Last weekend, Ian and I took a little trip to Bristol to meet some friends for lunch. We wanted somewhere central and casual and so I suggested The Stable along the Harbourside. There is one of these restaurants in Bath too and I love their specialities of pizza, pie and cider. It turns out it was the perfect option for our group as we wanted a long lunch and somewhere baby-friendly.

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There was such an impressive list of local ciders we decided the only way to taste as many as possible was to order a couple of their tasting boards. Although there were a few gross ones, it was lovely to try a variety of sweet and dry ciders and perries.

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We all opted for their speciality pizzas and it was great to see so many local ingredients and references to Bristol and the South West in their menu! I had the special which was topped with roasted chicken, field mushrooms, mozzarella and a tarragon cream – a rather unique combination but one that was bursting with flavour from the tarragon.

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Ian went rather off-piste too and ordered ‘The Avonmouth Angler’ – a fishy pizza that included smoked mackerel, smoked salmon, spinach and mozzarella. I’m not sure I’m a convert but he loved it!

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Nothing ground-breaking here but who can say no to a good pizza and cider?! x

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Beauty Review – May Birchbox

I’m a bit late reviewing this month’s box but it’s another good’un so better late than never!

My first thought when I opened the box was that it had a really cool design on it but was a bit plain…I soon realised why and how it linked into this month’s creative theme of ‘Free Your Mind’. Here was my first peek inside:

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The ‘little something extra’ in the box this month was a pack of colouring pencils, allowing you to personalise the lid of your box (there’s a mini competition running on this too). Adult colouring books are having a moment so this concept feeds in really well to that idea of making some time for yourself. I am currently into cross stitching to unwind in the evening so I’m not sure I will colour in my box but I do like the idea behind it.

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Right, onto the beauty items! I love a good hair mask and this one from Number 4 looks lovely. The Lumiere d’hiver Reconstructing Masque contains some amazing ingredients and is designed to leave your hair smooth, strengthened and shiny.

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Next a nail varnish from Wah London, a brand I am hearing more and more about after discovering their nail art. There was an option to receive a nail varnish, nail art pen or press on nails and I’m glad I got to try out one of their polishes. I had the shade The Blue Room, a vibrant yet slightly creamy coloured blue. I have just bought a similar shade so kind of wish I had another colour but that’s not their fault so I will give this a go and report back.

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A brand whose skincare I really like, I received a Caudalie tinted moisturiser. I am a big fan of these in the summer when you don’t want to wear too heavy a base on your face and this comes with a good SPF which is always a bonus. Unlike most other formulas, this smells amazing and the coverage isn’t bad either.

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I always welcome a face mask and this one from Absolution looks and smells lovely. It is called the Youth Activator Mask so sounds as though it is aimed at my skin type and aims to add a burst of moisture.

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Next a product that I wasn’t that excited about but Ian will definitely use – Parlor’s Moisturising Sea Salt Spray. I just don’t use anything like salt spray on my hair but Ian is a fan and the fact that this contains almond oils means it shouldn’t be as drying as other formulas are.

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Finally, a make-up item from Jelly Pong Pong (I love this name!) I received the Caribbean Sun Bronzer in the shade Martinique which looks perfect for my pale skin. It is a duo that contains a matt bronzer and a shimmery pink blusher. The palette is a little bit small to get a big brush into but I imagine that swirling the colours together would create a lovely glow too. I like that the compact has a mirror and on first impressions the blusher looks like the real winner – the bronzer is a tad on the chalky side for me.

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Overall, I really like this month’s box. My stand-out product is the Caudelie tinted moisturiser and I am excited to try it out properly this week.

Sunday Catch-up #20

Another busy week at work with the dreaded SATs exams but broken up with a trip to the theatre, good food, and a lovely weekend with friends.

This week I have been…

Making: a roast beef dinner for this afternoon and already looking forward to the Yorkshire puds!

Going:  to Bristol which looked lovely in the sunshine

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Wearing: my anchor sandals for the first time this year (my feet were still a bit chilly!)

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Eating: pizza

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Drinking: cider…well, I am a Somerset girl

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Reading: bloody SATs papers over and over again

Watching: Gerrard’s last game for Liverpool

Buying: tickets to watch my friends perform in Hairspray

Planning: fun things for half-term

Cooking: a lot of pasta this week

Baking: nothing

Writing: shopping lists

Favouriting: Snapchat! I’m hannahruthduffy if you want to add me

Working on: my latest cross stitch

Trying to decide: if it will be warm enough to go camping next week

Wishing: for a speedy and less stressful week ahead

Enjoying: a spot of laminating – geeky but strangely satisfying

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Needing: to do a quick clean and tidy before our cleaner comes tomorrow…tell me I’m not the only one who does this?!

Feeling: guilty after a Maccy D breakfast

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Giggling at: after playing Doritos Roulette!

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