Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy Friday!


I'm going to spend my weekend getting back on track with some things. Sometimes we all lose our way a little bit or lose sight of what we really want. That's happened to me. Life gets hectic :) 

So this weekend I'm going to check in with myself again and get to work again on my "things". I'll report back on that front in time. Until then...

I hope that you have a great weekend wherever you are! :)

Monday, April 09, 2018

The Trees


As I've mentioned here, many times (smile)...I love trees!

I took both of these photos over the past couple of weeks. The one above was about a week ago. Finally the trees are starting to bud out even though it's still very chilly. However, buds always make me think of hope, so I know that warmer days are ahead.

The photo below I took as I waited at the bus stop one morning. The sun was ever so slightly peeking over the edge of a limb and it just illuminated the two trees.

Nature's beauty is amazing!



Getting Everyone Together at Your House? Tips for a Great Night

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Some people love playing host. Others find it stressful. No matter what camp you fall into, it is likely that you are going to need to play host at some point. However, this is not something you should worry about. No matter your personality, you can host a great night that everyone will enjoy. It is simply about a bit of preparation and being attentive to your guests. With that in mind, read on to discover some useful tips for hosting the perfect get-together.

Make sure there are enough seats so that everyone is comfortable – Nothing can make an occasion seem more awkward than there not being enough seats. No one wants to be perched on the arm of a chair for the entire night.

Make sure you have a variety of entertainment options – Keeping your guests entertained is the most important part, and probably the aspect that you are most worried about. If you have a number of different entertainment options, you can make sure your guests never end up bored. If one entertainment option falls flat, you are bound to have something else that everyone enjoys. Of course, music is a must, but you should think about sourcing a number of games and quizzes. This Factory Direct Flooring quiz is a good option. It is a quiz about furniture that was featured in popular television shows and films. Quizzes like this aren’t only fun, but they provide a good talking point, which is especially important if your guests do not know each other very well.

Think of ways to get guests to mingle – Leading on from the former point; the key to the success of any get together is ensuring that your guests are mingling with one another. Quizzes and games are a good way to do this, but you also need to be attentive and make sure that no one is left out or feels awkward.

Serve foods that are suitable for entertaining – When deciding on what food to serve, opt for finger dishes that are easy for people to snack on. Spaghetti Bolognese may be your specialty, but no one wants to be fiddling around with strings of spaghetti and getting pasta sauce all over their face!

Plan, plan and plan some more – Planning will make your life much easier. Not only will it ensure that you do not forget anything important, but it will make you feel more prepared and confident on the night, which will enable you to enjoy yourself more.

So there you have it: some useful tips on hosting the perfect get-together for your friends. If you take note of the advice that has been provided, you should find it a lot easier to host an event that you and your friends enjoy. Plus, you never know, you may find that being a host is actually something you flourish at!


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Love


Yesterday was my mom's birthday. She's no longer here on Earth, but I know that love never dies. I didn't post about it yesterday because I needed time to be with my thoughts and I didn't know what to say, if anything. Well, I still don't have anything profound to say and I know that I don't have to do that. Put simply though, all that I thought about yesterday and still today is that when it's all said and done in this life, the thing that matters most is...

LOVE




Decluttering Your Home Once and for All

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Homes often get full of clutter over the years. You may have told yourself time and time again that you are going to have a clear-out, but for some reason it never seems to happen. You may even find that the whole thing is incredibly daunting. Don’t worry, this is completely normal, but if you are due to move house then you need to get things sorted out. If you were to hire local moving services then it would make it easier on them and you, so it is well worth doing.

What Would You Replace?

Think about it, if your house burnt down, what would you replace? If you are moving to a smaller house then this is a great trick to use. If you wouldn’t replace it then you don’t need it, so consider donating it to the local charity shop. When you do this, you can help out a good cause and you can also really help out someone in need. When organising your possessions, try and have three boxes. You’ll want to have one for your rubbish, one for your new home and then one for donations. Be strict with yourself when doing this, because if you’re not, everything will end up in the new house box!


It’s Not a Marathon

Remember that you are not going to sort through your entire house in a day, so make sure that you do a bit at a time. Make sure that you are happy with the job that you are doing, and when you get tired, just stop! If you do jobs like this when you are tired then you won’t make good decisions and it will also be much harder for you to get the job done in the long-run. If you have the time, just spend half an hour trying to declutter, or do it in bursts. It’s also important that you take regular breaks, as this will help you to avoid high-running emotions when it comes to getting rid of your things.


You Don’t Always Have to Get Rid of Things that you Love

When you have your boxes and even your piles ready, go through your drawers and gather everything that you love. If you have photos then you don’t need to get rid of these, but it does help to digitalise them so that you can keep them on record for the future. If you have important documents, consider scanning them and upload them to your computer, as this will save you a ton of space.

When the time does come for you to pack up your belongings, you can really save a lot of time by getting rid of some clutter and now is the best time for you to do this. Sure, throwing away stuff is hard, but when it has been done, you will feel so much better and it is a great way for you to downsize so you can fit everything in your new property without feeling too much stress along the way.


Friday, April 06, 2018

Happy Friday! Happy Weekend!


I hope that your Friday and your weekend is fantastic wherever you are.

Spring is slowly springing here in Wiltshire. It's still quite chilly, but I'm keeping the faith that sunnier days are just around the corner :)

The trees and bushes are slowly starting to bud out so I'm excited about that. Here's to much warmer days ahead!

Happy Weekend! :)

Cutting Foods Out For A Better Diet

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If you plan on changing up your diet this year, there are a few ways you can do it without falling back on the pizza and nachos within a few weeks. The key to changing your eating habits is the willingness to become a healthier person overall and the need to feel fit. To change your diet the best thing you can start with is cutting out the bad things you consume. This will be the hardest part of the process, but also an incredibly important one. Here’s how you can do it.

Small steps

You cannot simply wake up tomorrow and cut out all grains, dairy and processed foods. If you have ever tried this, you will know that after a couple of days your body craves what it used to have, and this leads to you falling back into these habits. If you want a lasting change, you need to start small and build your way up. For example, if you always put cheese on your chilli or your sandwiches, cut it out and see how you do for a week without changing anything else. Once this becomes easy enough, you can work on something else until eating healthier becomes second nature to you. Your body needs time to adjust so make sure you don’t overwhelm it right away.

 Add green

One of the easiest ways to cut down on fat while staying full is to reduce your regular portion and replace it with greens. Eventually half of your plate should be vegetables, with the other half split between protein and carbs. As a rule you can eat as many greens as you want, so if you are feeling hungry, pile it up on your plate. Here are some of the greens you can use for your plate: http://thescienceofeating.com/vegetables/best-leafy-green-vegetables/ . This is a simple way to cut down on your other calories and still leave you feeling satisfied after a meal.

Cut the sugar

Sugar is one of the most addictive things we eat, and therefore it is the hardest to cut out of your diet. However, if you think small, you will eventually be able to cut out at least 90% of your refined sugars. For example, let’s say you love having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer at the end of the day, cutting down with the help of programs like this https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/treatment/alcohol-detox/ can help you reduce the sugar you consume. The same applies for soft drinks, sugar in your coffee and other things too.

Switch to whole grain

Bread is a very difficult food to give up because it is one of the most diverse and loved foods in the world. If you do want to try and cut down the amount of wheat you consume but can’t bear to say goodbye to bread completely- you can switch to whole grain versions of the foods you love and then work from there. It will take you some time, but you will at least be eating a slightly healthier version for the time being.


Thursday, April 05, 2018

Tired of Looking Tired? Here’s How to Change Things

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There’s nothing worse than looking in the mirror and seeing a tired face staring back at you, especially when you don’t feel tired at all. It’s a problem that many people face on a daily basis, and too many of them assume that they simply have to put up with the problem. That’s not the case though. It’s more than possible for you to turn things around and to get rid of those obvious signs of tiredness.

With a few simple changes to your daily routines and the way in which you approach self-care, should be enough for you to improve your appearance. The new revitalised you will help you carry yourself with confidence and achieve more in your day-to-day life. So without further ado, here’s how to change things once and for all.

Use Highlighter Under Your Eyes

A simple highlighter can be used to reduce the darkness of the skin under your eyes. In particular, you need to try to get into the corners and make sure that you don’t miss any dark spots. It will make a big difference, and when you consider the ease with which you can do this, it’s definitely worth doing. It’s something that you should work into your daily routines when you get ready each morning.

Choose Clothes That Complement the Skin

What you wear can also have an impact on how tired you look throughout the preceding day. Try to make sure that you choose clothes that are similar to the colour of your skin when you’re having a day when you’re looking more tired than normal. It will help to stop any blemishes or signs of tiredness from standing out too much. So make sure this is something you work on when picking out your clothing.

Work on Making Your Hair Healthier and More Full of Life

It’s not just your skin and your outfit that you should be thinking about when it comes to making yourself look more awake and more alive. You also need to think about your hair because tired and lifeless hair can drag the rest of your appearance way down. This link will help you find hair masks that can keep your hair healthy and more impressive on a day to day basis, so make the most of the information you uncover.

Change Your Face Wash

Different people need different face washes, so if the one you’re currently using is not right for you, you should make a change. The one that’s right for you will entirely depend on the kind of skin you have. If your current face wash is drying out your skin, you need to replace it with a creamy rather than gel-based face wash.

Try a Splash of Cold Water

Simply splashing some cold water onto your face after you finish washing your face with warm water will have a big impact on how your face looks once you begin the day properly. It’s a trick that many people use, and it’s all in the change of temperature. It closes up your pores and make you look fresher and a bit more awake than you otherwise would.

Brush Your Eyebrows Upwards
Bushy eyebrows tend to make you look more alert and more awake, and that’s why you should get into the habit of brushing them upwards each day before you head out to work. You can get special brushes that are good at this, and you will notice the difference right away. It’s something that’s so easy to get right but it has a real impact on how you look.

Give Your Body the Sleep it Needs

Finally, you need to simply make sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night. If you work on getting more hours of sleep at night, you will be far less likely to wake up feeling tired and exhausted. If you’re used to getting only about 6 hours of sleep or so, you should try to get between 8 and 9 in the future. It’s something that you won’t regret. After all, the best way to not look tired is to not be tired.

Image source

As you can see, these ideas and changes aren’t going to be particularly difficult for you to implement. You can put them all in place in no time at all, and you’ll reap the rewards pretty much immediately. It’s certainly worth making the effort to make these changes if you’re tired of looking tired all the time.

Benefits of Going Back to School as an Adult

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Going to back to studying as an adult is going to be much different than if you were heading to college straight out of high school. No matter what your age, whether you are 27 or 57, there are going to be some challenges and adjustments to get used to. It doesn’t mean it will be more difficult, there will just be some different challenges. In many ways, your age will equip you with many benefits, such as existing knowledge and experience that could help you on your journey.

If you’re thinking of going back to school for a career change or to improve your skills and employability, then here are some of the ways going as a mature student can actually be a benefit to you.

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More Programs Available To You

With today’s competitive job market, there is more and more demand for specialist courses and programs, as well as more options than there might have been even ten years ago. So even if you are going down a general degree route, there will more options than before on the kind of specialism or field that you want to go into.

You’ll Be Wise With Your Time

As an adult, who may have a family and other commitments to juggle, you know you won’t have a lot of spare time. So you know just how well you will have to manage your time. That can certainly be an advantage over a nineteen year old that can easily get distracted with the social life of college. According to an article by Urbanest, 75% of students proclaim themselves to be chronic procrastinators. That is something that you just won’t have time for. So that can be an advantage to going back to school later in life.

 Career Specific

If you ask some eighteen year olds what they want to do for a career, then there won’t be many that have a solid plan in place. They will go to college and see what happens. But you will have an idea of what you want to do, as your studies will be there to help focus on a particular career path. You may be going back to improve your knowledge and skills in an area that you have been working in for a while. You might be switching career. Either way, you’ll know what you want and your studies can be career specific, which is more likely to happen when you're older, than just out of high school.

More Flexibility

There is so much more flexibility for mature students at college. From being able to study online, to different deadlines and courses, there will be some more flexibility when you’re not going back to live on campus to do your degree. Colleges want mature students at their college, and they’re happy to help accommodate them. So don’t worry about other commitments that you have and how you’ll fit it all in; you’ll be able to do so.

Have you ever thought about going back to school later in your life?

Monday, April 02, 2018

Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns

*Disclosure: I was sent some of these ingredients for the recipe. All opinions are my own.

I had a lovely Easter and this year I had the chance to try something new for me. I had never tried hot cross buns before and this year I gave them a try.

Photo credit: Yutaka

My first taste of hot cross buns was a slighty different version, accentuated with a lemony twist on the traditional taste. I had Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns and they were delicious! I'll definitely be making these again in the future.


The yuzu gives them a zesty tang, whilst the honey gives an additional depth of flavour. Yutaka ( www.yutaka.london ) is the UK's leading Japanese food company with its range of authentic, traditional ingredients that allow you to make everything from sushi to delicious katsu curry in the comfort of your own home.

If you'd like to try the recipe for yourself, you can find it below:


Yuzu & Honey Hot Cross Buns

Makes 15-20
Ingredients

For the buns:

· 575g strong bread flour
· 75g caster sugar
· 75g sultanas
· 50g mixed peel
· 7g quick working yeast
· 1 tsp salt
· ½ tsp ground nutmeg
· ½ tsp ground cinnamon
· 250ml milk
· 3 tbsp honey
· 1½ tbsp. Yutaka Yuzu
·  2 tbsp water
· Zest of 2 lemons
· 50g butter
· 2 eggs beaten

For the cross:
75g plain flour

For the glaze:
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water
Method
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, honey, yuzu, water, lemon zest and butter stirring constantly until butter has melted. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes then pour into a well in the centre of the flour mix. 

Combine using a wooden spoon then use your hands until the ingredients are all combined. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead for around 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.

Place your dough in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size. Then add your sultanas and mixed peel whilst still in the bowl, knead to combine all the ingredients and leave once again to rise for about an hour. Make sure the cling film is also greased to avoid a crust forming on your dough.

Once the dough has risen again, divide into 15-20 pieces and roll into smooth balls. Line them up on parchment-lined baking trays allowing enough space for them to once again expand. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for a further hour.

Preheat oven to 220c or gas mark seven. Mix the flour for the cross with some water to make a basic dough. Place in piping bag and pipe one line across each bun then repeat to form the cross.You can brush buns beaten egg to give a glaze.

Bake for around 20 mins or until buns are golden brown on top. Remove pan from the oven and let buns cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Mix the caster sugar with boiling water and, once buns have cooled a little, brush with glaze.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Top Picks For Spring 2018

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It might only be March, but there’s been plenty of great things to get excited about this year so far. If you’re looking for some great recommendations to get you excited about spring, then you’ve come to the right place. From movies to books to fashion and beauty recommendations, here are some top picks for spring 2018 for you to check out.

Image: Pexels

Movie: Black Panther

Forget Oscar winner Shape of Water, this month everyone is flocking to see the latest Marvel installment, Black Panther which features an incredible cast made up of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o and others. As the final Marvel film before the Avengers: Infinity War arrives in April, Black Panther is a thrill-a-minute. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a rating of 97% thanks to the films engaging storyline and well-developed characters. It’s already made $1 billion worldwide, so it’s definitely one to see this month.

Music: The Greatest Showman Soundtrack



If you haven’t been to see The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Arguably the best musical film released in years (sorry, La La Land), it is accompanied by this incredible soundtrack which has been riding high at the top of the UK chart for some weeks now. Some of the standout tracks include ‘This is Me’, ‘Rewrite the Stars’ and ‘From Now On’. It’s a feel-good soundtrack that will uplift you and make you smile, so make sure you check it out on Spotify now.

Book: Still Me by Jojo Moyes


If you’ve read the heartbreaking Me Before You and its sequel Me After You, then you’ll have been looking forward to reading the next chapter of Louisa ‘Lou’ Clarke’s life, which sees her venture to New York for new adventures while juggling a long distance relationship. It’s another fantastic book from Moyes that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. If you haven’t read the first two novels, make sure you check them out.


TV: The Bold Type (Amazon Prime)


While The Bold Type was released in the US last year, it’s just made its way to the UK, where it’s already become one of the most-talked-about TV shows of 2018. The Bold Type focuses on the life of three friends, Jane, Kat and Sutton, who all work at glossy, glamorous, Cosmopolitan-esque magazine Scarlet and is inspired by Joanna Coles, former Cosmo editor-in-chief. Offering a more realistic and modern take on what it’s like to work at a magazine in 2018, the series navigates some important issues. A real Devil Wears Prada meets Sex and the City; you’ll be left wanting more after you devour this box set.


 App: Final Fantasy XV:  A New Empire

If you’re looking for a fun app to pass the time, particularly during your long commute, then give the latest Final Fantasy game a try. The series is a much-loved set of games that was originally released in 1987, and the latest installment has now been adapted into a mobile game. Be your own hero and take on a powerful empire in Final Fantasy XV, allowing you to play as different characters as you battle, hunt for treasure and encounter other players along your travels. The series has always been great for people who don’t like to play traditional games, with plenty of good storytelling mixed in to keep you hooked. Download the app and check it out!


Skincare: L'Oreal Paris Smooth Sugar Nourish Cocoa Face and Lip Scrub


L’Oreal has released some incredible new skincare products in recent years, including its fantastic range of Clay masks. This newest release is centered on exfoliation with this hard-working face scrub that not only gives you smooth, refreshed skin but also works as an effective lip scrub. The cocoa scent smells good enough to eat, and it’s the ultimate pamper product for your skincare routine. A bargain at £9.99, this is one skincare product you’ll want to add to your bathroom shelf.


Makeup: Charlotte Tilbury Brightening Youth Glow


Who doesn’t strive to achieve a youthful, glowing look in the mornings? With so many great illuminating products on the market today, it can be difficult to pick the right one. Charlotte Tilbury’s latest release is a brightening primer product that helps to blur your pores and give you a radiant glow - idea for photographs. It’s easy to apply, works with all skin tones and can be worn alone or with foundation to help you achieve a perfect complexion. Approved by beauty editors, this looks set to be a standout product for helping you to boost your base and give your makeup that star quality. It might be a little pricey at £38.50, but a little will go a long way as you make this an essential part of your beauty routine.


Recipe: Chocolate Chia Pudding


If you’re trying to enjoy healthier eating this spring, you might already be craving some sweet treats. Beat your sugar craving with this recipe for a healthy chocolate chia pudding from BBC Good Food. It’s a recipe that is easy to make, is completely vegan-friendly and it’s low calorie - making it ideal for those who are watching their weight. Whip up a batch and leave in the fridge for a tasty treat without the guilt!


Fashion: The denim skirt


The denim skirt is one of those items that returns season after season, but it’s even more difficult to escape its impact this season. A great item to take you from winter to spring, there are plenty of great ways you can wear this fashion staple. Team it with a classic t-shirt or sweatshirt for casual cool, or pair with an evening top for date night or drinks with the girls. There are plenty of styles available to suit all figures, while the midi and maxi lengths offer a change to the typical denim mini. Take a look at some of the photos from the ILFWDA show at London Fashion Week for more great fashion inspiration and a look at some upcoming trends.

It might still be early in the year, but there’s plenty to get excited about with these great picks!


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A Celebration of England’s Diverse Adventures

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First thing’s first: any talk about the virtues of England has to make some mention of the weather. So yes, all in all, the weather here can be rough sometimes. But if you can look past those drizzly days and overcast skies, you’ll find there’s much to keep visitors and natives alike entertained for, well, forever! With the abundance of cheap flights operating to Europe and across the globe, it’s not hard to see why so many people opt to leave these shores when it comes to having fun. But let’s take a look at what’s on offer; you might just rediscover why so many people across the world love good old blighty.

Source: Pexels.com
Quiet Sunday Mornings

OK, so this might not be the most rock and roll entry on the list, but it’s still something worth cherishing. Of all the times of the week that can be described as quintessentially English, then this might just be it. There’s nothing better than waking up to the sound of the radio, having a hearty breakfast, and then going for a walk in England’s beautiful countryside (ideally with a dog by your side). It gets even better if it’s a sunny spring day or when the autumn leaves are on the ground. It’s something that some other countries don’t get to enjoy, and which many of us take for granted.

On the Weekend

Of course, you’ll only be able to fully enjoy the freshness of a Sunday morning if you’ve gone without one of the staples of English life: heading to the pub on a Friday or Saturday evening with a group of friends. There is nothing more English than a pub; indeed, the best way to describe it came from an American tourist, who said a pub is “a community living room.” Doesn’t that just fit the bill nicely? If you’re lucky enough to live close by to a pub that dates back hundreds of years (and there are quite a lot of them), then you’ll know just how cosy they can be - especially when the weather outside is anything but cheery.

Into the Cities

There are cities in every country of the world, but not many can match England when it comes to having so many different cities with their own atmosphere, located so close to one another. Liverpool and Manchester, for example, are both fantastic, but in their own unique way - yet you can drive from one to the other in 35 minutes or so. And we can’t not talk about London, which might just be the “world’s city”; you can do anything and everything there, usually at any time of the day. From some of the world’s best museums to shows, it’s a city that can match any city in the world.

Rural Life

We like to think of England as being pretty industrial, or built-up - but in fact, only a small percentage of the land has been built on, and that includes all buildings, roads, and everything else man-made. That means that there’s a lot of green space out there, and dotted along those green spaces are beautiful small villages and towns. Most people in England never even think to visit them, but it’s well worth making an effort. If you’re looking for an easily accessible entryway to this kind of life, head to the Lake District. It has stunning walks and many a picturesque town that is perfect for enjoying a Sunday roast dinner.

Group Adventures

Cities and towns are something that you go to see, or which you contribute to the atmosphere just by being there. But England also offers a lot by way of fun adventures, and especially so if you’re part of a group. There are rounds of golf everywhere, and there’s some pretty amazing surfing located on the west coast, too. If you’re looking for something a bit more competitive, then you can try paintballing or go-karting. There’s never any shortage of fun outings to have with your friends and family, no matter which corner of the country it is that you call home.

The Music Scene

If you travel overseas, you’ll quickly discover something that the rest of the world has known for a long time: England’s music scene is amazing! Whatever music you like, you’ll find the very best of it represented in concert halls up and down the country. Of course, everyone knows the massive bands that England have given to the world, but it goes beyond The Beatles, Rolling Stones, et al. From pop to electronic to hip-hop, England’s latest generation are doing some pretty amazing things. Check it out!

Getting Involved

England is a privileged place, and this we know because there are so many activities that you can do. If you like singing, then you can get involved in a local choir. If you like acting, then you can join the local theatrical troupe. If you like hiking, then join a hiking group and explore the great outdoors. The English are a sociable bunch, and they like to share their passions with others. Whatever activity you have a vague interest in, you’ll find it well represented.

Source: Pexels.com




Sporting Matches

Here’s another thing about England: the English are crazy about sports. Rugby, tennis, golf, athletics - they’re all part of life for millions of people. But the big one is, of course, football. Each week, hundreds of thousands of people set off from home to watch twenty-two men try to kick a ball into a net. It sounds a bit silly when it’s broken down so much, but just go and see a match - the atmosphere can, at times, make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Just don’t talk to the fans if their team doesn’t win. 

That’s just a small selection of the fun activities to be found in England, so get out there and explore what’s on offer - you won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

10th Blogiversary


Well here I am. Ten years ago today, I started this blog. Doesn't a decade go by fast? 

I had planned to write something special for this milestone, but alas, I'm not feeling great again. I got a reprieve of a few days, but now I'm feeling kind of icky again. Icky....(smile) I guess it's the only way to describe it. We've had a very harsh cold snap of freezing temperatures and snow. I think that walking home the other day in the cold wind has perhaps pushed me a couple of steps back in my quest to get well. Oh well, that's life. I won't make this milestone for my blog about my not feeling well. That would be a real downer. (smile) After I write this, I'm going to go have a lie down and give myself a bit of TLC. I'll be fine. 

This inclination to know when to take a rest is something that has grown increasingly within me during this past decade. Blogging and life side-by-side have ushered me into some healthier ways of thinking so I'm grateful for that. When I started this blog I was ten years younger and I still hadn't quite realized the true value of being kind to myself. It's not that I hated myself at all, it was just that I didn't think of what I needed enough. I was a giving person then and I'm still a giving person now, but I also have learned that if I don't give some time to myself then I'll have nothing to give to anyone else. I know that this isn't groundbreaking stuff in the scheme of things in the world, with so much going on, but this has been life-changing for me. 

So I guess that this 10th blogiversary...ten years of my life, has given me the chance to look back on this part of my life. I'm so grateful that I started this blog. In the beginning, it was a means of coping with being so far away from home and trying to find my feet in a strange land. Later it grew into me telling about the places here and there that I've visited. It's also been an outlet for my love of taking pictures, long before Instagram came along. Through blogging I've also had some fun opportunities come my way like: visiting the US Embassy, going to the Ideal Home Show, and my favorite...going to London Fashion Week

My blog may not be a big thing like some, but that's okay. I just enjoy having a kind of digital time capsule of my time here in England and I like sharing what I see. I'd like to freshen things up here and offer more and this is part of my plan, but this will come in time.

In the meantime, I just want to thank everyone who has visited me here over these ten years. I appreciate this so much! Here's to another ten years and to making this space better and better!

Friday, March 02, 2018

The ILFWDA Show at London Fashion Week

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the great opportunity to attend a show during London Fashion Week, but I've been a bit under the weather since and unable to share my experience until now. Sorry for the delay. I'm feeling much better now, so I'm excited to share some of what I saw.

I attended the Independent London Fashion Week Designers Association Show (ILFWDA) on Friday, February 16th, two weeks ago exactly. Even though some time has passed, I'm still relishing the experience as if it just happened yesterday. This was my first time attending London Fashion Week and I certainly hope it's not my last. I've loved fashion since I was a young girl and I've been wanting to attend a show such as this for a long time. Being there was definitely a full circle moment. It was the epitome of how I see my life now as I hold onto the many things that I've always wanted to do, but they seem to take a bit of time to achieve....I remember this...Delayed is not denied.

This experience has reaffirmed to me that it's never too late and that I just need to go full steam ahead with what I want to do. If things are meant to be, they will be, but if they're not I'm still going to be okay. Just because something doesn't happen today, it doesn't mean that it'll never happen. I just have to do my best, let go and have faith. Seeing the creations of the various designers was an excellent reminder that we are all here to give whatever our "thing" is to the world. We may be designers, writers, musicians, nurses, doctors, carpenters, etc...whatever we do, but we just have to show up and do our best.

The ILFWDA Show was beautifully varied and spectacular. Please follow this link to learn more about the designers that were in the showcase. Below are some of my favorite looks from the show. Also, you can see bits of video from the show on my Instagram account in the highlights section here. I hope that you enjoy taking a look!
 






















Pursuing Goals

*collaborative post


I am a person who writes lists a lot in order to get things done day-to-day and I keep track of my goals in this way too. I always find that I can get my head around things better if I see things written down in black and white. Writing these lists helps me to gather my thoughts and to be a bit more precise with what I want as I look at my goals.

The first step for me is writing down my goals and next I think about the path or paths which will lead me closer to what I want. Many of my goals involve creative activities and how I can make them a bigger part of my life. As we all know, it's usually a balancing act to find time for creative pursuits alongside other things in life. But if this is what we want, then we must go for it.

For me, as I pursue the things that I want, I also am mindful of having a source of income that will help pay my bills. One of my goals is to get more of my creative projects out into the daylight because being creative gives me balance in life. I want to strike a balance where I can be comfortable financially and still do the creative things that fill me up. I am slowly but surely finding my way.

I often see a quote here and there around the internet that I like and I keep as a kind of mantra for myself. I don't know who originally said it, but it's excellent advice.

'Do something today that your future self will thank you for.'

I'm going to take that advice.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

World Book Day



Happy World Book Day!

If you have visited me here before, you'll know that I love books. Sometimes it seems as if I've been reading for as long as I can remember. By the time that I went to school, I was already reading quite well. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting on the floor as a tiny little girl and pulling one of the old encyclopedias off the bookshelf. I'd open it up and look at the pictures and then pick out the words that I knew and read them out loud or I'd write them on a piece of paper. My daddy used to read to me or I'd read to him in the evenings sometimes. I think that having access to books...the old encyclopedias and my own storybooks, definitely had an impact upon my love of books early in life. I'm grateful to my parents and extended family for giving me access to books as I was growing up. It's not hyperbole to say that books changed my life for the better and I'm so grateful.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my 10th blogiversary is coming up. This blog will be 10 years old...double digits...(smile)...on March 4th. So in honor of my upcoming 10th blogiversary and World Book Day, I've decided to share a list of my ten favorite books. This was HARD! This list could've been ten lists of ten because there are so many books that I love and picking just ten is quite a challenge. But hey, I'm going with the ten theme here for ten years :) So I'll just say that these are ten of my favorite books, but there are many, many more.

Okay, here goes, in no particular order....

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison


The Wedding by Dorothy West


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston


The Hand I Fan With by Tina McElroy Ansa


Cane River by Lalita Tademy


I Know Why the  Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King


Black Girl in Paris by Shay Youngblood


A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle


All of these books mean something special to me. They have all given me a new viewpoint about something and I relish that. As I look back over this list, I think that perhaps I'll reread them all. We shall see.

In the meantime, Happy World Book Day! :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Delayed But Not Stopped


I haven't posted in a while because I've been a bit under the weather, with a nasty cold. Actually I've been sick as heck for about a week, but hopefully I'm getting out of the woods with it all. Fingers crossed.

Being sick arrived at the wrong time, although sickness is never a welcome guest. But on the day that I got sick, I was planning to share a great experience that I had the day before. I had the chance to attend a show during London Fashion Week! It was fantastic!!

Even though I'm a bit late, I'll still be sharing my experience at London Fashion Week here on my blog this week, along with some photos.

Also in anticipation of my upcoming 10th blogiversary coming up next Sunday, I'll be sharing a couple of special posts to mark the occasion. The first will be on March 1st and the second will be on my 10th blogiversary on March 4th. So I hope that you'll come back to check those out.

Have a great new week!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I Love Trees


I love trees.

 I've mentioned that here many times. Trees have always intrigued me. I love them in all seasons.

During the spring, they sprout out in gentle greens and flower buds, as the new growth in them reminds us of the renewal of the season.
During the summer, they are green and alive and provide shade from the sun and offer us a canopy to lie under and dream.

During autumn/fall they show their many colors to us and make us marvel at their beauty.

Winter brings us a view that at first looks bleak with the absence of the leaves, but if we look closer, there is a true beauty. The bare branches reach towards the sky and appear like sculptures. They are dramatic and moving. 

I love trees.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Change Your Thinking for a Better Financial Future

*Collaborative post
 
The way you think about money can have a profound impact on your life. Too many of us spend a lot of time worrying about money without considering how we could change our relationship with it. If you change the way you think about money, you could get healthier finances and a healthier mind.

Spend Based on Your Needs

As we start to increase our disposable income, we will often start to spend more - because we can. But while some things can make your life a bit more comfortable, there are some luxuries that you don't have to have. Plenty of wealthy people are very frugal with their money because they know it's not infinite.

Design Your Financial Future

You need to stop expecting your financial situation to improve on its own. You're unlikely to suddenly win the lottery or even secure a high-flying job without any planning. You need to set goals if you want to save more and earn more.

Think Positively About Money

A lot of your time thinking about money is probably taken up by worrying. But using some positive techniques can change your relationship with your finances. Do some positive things like rewarding yourself when you complete a goal to improve your relationship with money.

Steel Your Mind for the Supermarket

We can all fall victim to advertising tricks, but by changing your thinking, you can avoid them better than ever before. First, you need to know some of the top trips that advertisers and stores use so that you can ignore them.


Infographic By Sunny.co.uk


Friday, February 02, 2018

Product Spotlight: Yutaka Noodles Review

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

I love noodles. They're one of my go-to ingredients when I'm preparing meals. I don't eat noodles every day, but I usually have them at least once a week. They're quick and can be combined with a myriad of other foods to create something delicious to eat. They're an excellent way to get creative in the kitchen. 

New Tastes



Recently, Yutaka sent me samples of their gluten free & organic Soybean Noodles and Edamame Soybean Noodles. 




I also received Yutaka Organic Tamari Soy Sauce, Yutaka Tangy Yakisoba Stir-fry sauce, and Yutaka Black Roasted and White Roasted Sesame Seeds. I was excited to try them out because I love experiencing new tastes.


Quality

Yutaka Soybean Noodles and Edamame Noodles are:

* suitable for vegetarians

* gluten free

* organic

* low in sodium

* high in protein

* high in fibre

* contain no additives

* and they boil in six minutes


I decided to improvise and make one of my fave toppings for the noodles.  In one pan, I combined red peppers, mushrooms and onions with some of the soy sauce and stir-fry sauce. It smelled heavenly while it was cooking. Alongside this, I boiled the noodles. When I combined the contents of both pans, it came together to look like this. To finish the dish off I simply sprinkled some of the white roasted sesame seeds on top.


It looks delicious and let me tell you, it tasted delicious too! I really enjoyed this dish and my husband did too. It was lovely! All of the ingredients came together beautifully for a fresh and savoury taste. These are high quality ingredients. I'm definitely a fan and I'll be certainly be having them again soon!