Friday, 29 November 2013

Black Friday Bargains.

English: Photographed by Daniel Case 2006-11-2...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's Black Friday and that can only mean one things. Shopping for assorted things that I quite probably don't need but would much rather have in my life. And be able to justify it because of all the savings that Black Friday has... (See! its worth spending the money because I can justify it!).

I work hard for my money and then tend to scrimp and save all year - although I do have moments of weaknesses, normally involving food or anything sparkly... I do this by following a few simple steps and I have found that they honestly are helpful to stick to, especially at this time of the year....

1. Budget - I decide the most that I am willing to spend on one shopping trip and what I need to achieve with this money. Best case scenario - I manage to buy everything and have money left over. Worse Case scenario - I overspend and don't get everything I need... Then we have a problem....

2. Shop around - Compare prices and shop at the cheapest place, don't be tempted to buy something because its right there in front of you, this will inevitably land up being more expensive than anything!

3.Find deals online - Being incredibly lazy I look for the best deals online and then see whether I can make more savings by getting money off. Especially if the product is expensive.... This theory can eve be used for the food that you will definitely need to refuel after a marathon shopping trip.

4. If you find something you like, wait - This is my primary rule for clothes shopping. If I find something I like, if I can remember it 20 minutes after walking away then it obviously left enough of an impact for it to be worth buying... because there are a lot of clothes that capture my interest and I forget them almost as soon as I walk away.

5.Find a bank account with a high interest rate and try to begin saving money - so that if you overspend as in suggestion one then you always have a little money to fall back on....

Go out, do your shopping and grab yourself a bargain!

Please Note: This post was written as a PR Collaboration.






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Thursday, 28 November 2013

The City at Night.

The Guildhall at dusk - taken by @Jacobwillmore1


It's been a busy few weeks what with deadlines, university and a BF that's had a bit of a struggle walking... (All stems from a unknown back injury that thankfully seems to be healing - fingerscrossed there anyway!)

And this busy-ness has meant that I haven't had much chance to sit down and appreciate the small things. The photo above was taken by my BF one evening as I was rushing off to a group meeting as he stopped to appreciate the city I now call home.

Figured I'd share it with you guys - and remember savour the small things.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Bottle Boa.

I like to think that I'm a strong independent woman that never needs a man and generally I can manage this, until you place a jar or bottle in front of me and I can't for the life of me get the d*mn thing open.

Quite sadly, it's a rather regular occurrence and this all came to a head when everyone had gone out and I was desperately trying to get into a jar of pasta sauce... (I landed up calling one of the boys to come round from next door and open it.... to be fair they struggled but it was so embarrassing!) I'm hoping I'm not the only one that struggles with jars and the such like.....


This situation led to me being given a mini boa bottle opener so that I don't have to get myself into that sort of situation again. I'm not going to lie, when I first saw it I thought it looked way more complicated than it needed to be (mind you, the grippy type cloth I'd tried to open before looked way to simple so I guess you can't ever win. ) My flatmates all questioned what it was when I first tried to use it. I had all sorts of suggestions - Sex toy(?!), some sort of DIY implement, and blade....


To be fair, when I actually looked at the packaging, the instructions were really really straight forward, the hardest bit was getting it out of the packaging...

I gave it a test on a half empty bottle on amaretto that everyone had given up hope of it ever being opened  again and once I'd tightened the strap the bottle opened with very little problem... I tried again on a jar that the lid was too bog for my hand and there was no problem there either!

It's safe to say that it is a rather nifty gadget for people like me and I'd definitely recommend it for people who have week wrists or generally struggle maybe a little like nan...





I was not in any way paid for this post. It was a gift from a friend. Any views are my own entirely.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

My cake indulgence!

It's that time of the year, it's cold, gets dark really early and to me, this could only mean one thing. We all need cake!

I'm a huge fan of cake - you cannot really go wrong (unless there's banana in it - bleugh!) and this love of cake not only is the eating of cake but extends to baking cake. I cook when I'm stressed - my house has tons of cake during exams... I've sold cakes to the local farm shop and made some money one summer. Safe to say, I can't really go wrong with cake!


So in light of this love, todays post is my favourite cake recipe.

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
My cakes - Sprinkled with edible glitter... Can't go wrong!

For the cake, you will need:
6oz self raising flour.
6oz caster sugar.
6oz margarine/butter.
1tsp baking powder.
3 eggs.
50g cocoa powder.
50g crushed clear mints. (These are optional because they are such a pain in the ar*e to crush....)

This should make approx. 16-20 cupcakes

For the icing & decorations, you will need:
4oz room temperature butter. (Can used margarine, but when you add the food colouring, it may discolour slightly...)
6oz icing sugar.
green food colouring (Add to desired colour)
mint food flavouring (Add to desired taste)
Decorations to top. (I tend to use a block of chocolate)

This is supposed to cover 12 but I tend to double the recipe to cover all the cakes and go with it.

Recipe:
Now, as much as I love to cook, I'm incredibly lazy. Add all the cake ingredients into a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Divide among cases and place in a oven preheated at 180'c fan assist/Gas Mark 4/350'F. Wait 10-15 minutes and check whether they are cooked.(stab with a sharp knife if it comes out clean, they're done. Allow to cool.

Whisk softened butter with icing sugar (Add a little at a time...) add food dye and flavouring until you have a smooth minty green icing. Pipe or spread onto the cooled cakes. Decorate. And enjoy!






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Monday, 25 November 2013

Food&Drink

First up a quick apology for the distinct lack of posts last week, it was a pretty hectic week and I got side tracked by other such interesting university-type things.


Mojitos & Sex on the Beach (My absolute favourite!) from LaTasca
Well, I've made it this far into the year. I have 3 weeks left until I break up for Christmas (Thankgod!) which is terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I'm sure the best part of that is there is only 3 more monday mornings and only 3 more 9o'clock lectures (Insert celebrations here!)

I'm not going to lie, I love to celebrate and will find any excuse for a cheeky meal out and/or drinks. (See the cocktails on the left>>)

I'm one of those students that would much rather sit in the pub/bar and drink than club, and would actually pick a meal out over all of the above.

It's safe to say I haven't always loved food quite as much as I do now... but now I'm on a mission to try as many different styles of food and drink before I leave university, hence the needs for celebrations.....

Dessert Platter at La Tasca.

I do try and bring this 'adventurousness' into my cooking too... I rebel and never follow a recipe and tend to guess what would go well together and what wouldn't. (Not going to lie, it all tends to depend on what I have in the fridge and what is going out of date....)

Suggestions for good value places to eat that are worth the time!? I need new places to experience!



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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Foooooood.

I'm one of the more lazier types of cook - if I come in from lectures late, I seriously hate having to cook. But there's always that tiny bit of me that's responsible and knows that I have to cook.... So below are a few of my quick easy recipes that I cook on a regular basis.

1. Thai Green Curry - The easy way. All you need is for 1 portion is:
- 1 tsp green Thai curry paste (buy a small jar that lasts for ages in the fridge) 
- 2 chicken fillets 
- 1/2 small tub of cream cheese
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/2 a cup of rice 

Boil rice. Fry chicken and peppers in a pan when cooked, turn heat right down and add curry paste (I tent to go for 1tsp when I'm cooking for me, but add to taste) stir in cream cheese and add a splash of milk to make it kind of sauce-y. Serve with rice. 

2. Mushroom & Bacon pasta - 
- A handful of Mushrooms 
- 4 rashers of Bacon
- Half a cup of pasta
- Half a packet of cream cheese

Boil pasta. Fry bacon and sliced mushrooms. Strain pasta when cooked. Add mushrooms and bacon into pasta. Add cream cheese and a dash of milk. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve. 

Have a try at these recipes and let me know what you think...




Friday, 15 November 2013

The Countdown Begins....

christmas 2007
Christmas  (Photo credit: paparutzi)
There are 40 days until Christmas. That's only 6 more Sundays. Just one more payday... Sh*t!

I'm not going to lie, I'm impressed how organised my Christmas shopping has been so far. My love of Christmas has meant that I've been budgeting and buying for months... and it's paying off. I'm over halfway *insert cheering and round of applause here* (Although I know that some people are uber-organised and have completely finished, including the stocking fillers... I'm totally jealous. I love Christmas as soon as all the preparations done!)

Actually scratch that, I love the idea of wrapping up presents and watching people open them.. providing I've actually managed to hit the nail on the head for different quirky presents that match the person perfectly. apologies in advance anyone who gets a present and doesn't get the quirk-iness... (Any suggestions that I may not have come up with, comment below?)

I cannot wait for the big day itself, the Christmas dinner with the family, drinking, decorations and having a day to just be. That's a technical term 'just be', the BF will definitely agree!


Christmas present wrapped with a gold bow and ...
Christmas present wrapped with a gold bow and an angel Christmas card. This photo was taken on December 25, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 I have decided this year that I don't want lots of expensive presents - this is me being all grown-up... it's definitely not the true meaning of Christmas - instead, if I get anything I think they need to be useful things that I need but haven't got around to buying.... Like new pyjama bottoms*  or a stapler....

To keep costs lower here in the university house, we tend to do SecretSanta )although its still pending organisation this year) with a price limit and see where that gets us. Safe to say that our presents were random ranging from phone cases to Jiggleballs (Read 50 Shades of Grey for product description...)


One way or another, Christmas is definitely my favourite time of year. The season of giving.


*The pj bottoms being the 3rd pair of 'trousers' I've split in as many weeks. Would love to say that my a*se isn't too big, but this suggests otherwise. Best bit is it's not going to stop me eating what I want and doing no exercise. Why change the habit of a lifetime, ehh?


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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

UPSUCF Employability Seminar.


Some of the Attendees (including a really short me...)
and our Speakers; Frank Froud, Flick Drummond &
Michael Birchmore. 
Last night I was taken out by @mralexward, Vice-chair of Portsmouth University Conservative Future/Much loved housemate/person puts up with all my ranting/twit-on-the-side (We've been mistaken for dating. We're really not.) Not going to lie, I said I'd go and I wasn't 100% sure what I'd let myself in for... And ever the romantic, he took me to the University of Portsmouth Conservative Future Employability Seminar.

I turned up after a rather icky day spent in bed. Alex claims he would have dragged me out kicking and screaming, and I genuinely believe he would have....

Not going to lie, I didn't think that it would:
a. be at all helpful. at all.
b. manage to hold my attention for the hour & a half.
c. manage to re-ignite my passion for placements & future jobs.


Most impressively, it managed to do all three of the things.

It was easily the most helpful and inspiring seminar that I have managed to sit through (and lets be honest, university is full of seminars.....) Frank has experience within his company of helping graduates/ex-servicemen/those struggling to find work, get through the initial stage of applying for jobs and the interview processes. And way 1400 graduates that has helped, he must be doing something right. Michael has 20 years experience being self employed and has a portfolio of his own businesses.

I cannot stress enough how useful I found talking to people with real world experience. We discussed the different stages of the interview process, how to set yourself apart from the other candidates and was given some really useful advice - would share it, but I kind of want to keep myself ahead of anyone else.... that bad?

Thank you to Flick and those who organised the event and Thank you to Frank and Michael for taking the time to talk to us all. It was definitely worth my time.

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

You may now kiss the groom.

This is not going to be one of those rant-y type posts - as much as I enjoy reading those type of posts... Instead it's going to be one of blogs where I question why people believe the things they do - deep, eh?

Yesterday I watched a documentary called 'Bridegroom' about a gay couple who when one died, the other was left with nothing and wasn't even allowed to attend the funeral of his life partner. Heartbreaking.

I know that some people do not agree with same sex relationship, or even same sex marriages  which I understand  is a personal view, but in my mind, a relationship is a relationship. If two people make each other happy and  have a positive impact on  on each other's life, then who are we to judge?

The worse thing is the people who feel the need to make derogatory comments about the couples. No one wants  to have to be told they're not good enough/don't deserve an othe half/should be allowed to lie if they're gay. That must be absolutely soul destroying to have to live with that knowing that it isn't your choice, but is the way you were made.


Rainbow flag. Symbol of gay pride.
Rainbow flag - Symbol of gay pride. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I know that some people will completely disagree with my views but it's something I feel strongly about. Everyone is human & therefore should be treated equally. Why single someone out because of how they feel?
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Monday, 11 November 2013

Silence is golden.


Today I have woken up and there's quiet. A deathly silence has overcome the student house (probably something to do with the huge night out they went out I last night.... They'll all surface still slightly drunk, suffering from the horrible 'emotional hangovers')  but the silence is made worse by the fact I'm alone. For the first time in  over a week I'm just sat without having to run round and look after anyone..

You see for the last week, my life has become  endless rounds of remembering painkillers, doctors appointments and even a trip to A&E  in the back of an ambulance. ( and that's after waiting two hours for the first one to turn up... Apparently a usually fit 19 year old male screaming out in pain doesn't merit an immediate dispatch.... If someone could explain that,?)

And it's all because my BF had been here suffering from the worse back spasms imaginable. He can hardly walk, he can't sleep and he can't seem to get comfortable anywhere. He's exhausted. The worse thing isn't the fact that I'm hardly sleeping because of it, (I'm not really sleeping at all to be honest) it's the fact I can't take away even half of the pain to make him more comfortable. All the doctors down here have said they can't do anything so today he's been picked up and taken home to see  his GP, so for the first time in over a week I don't have to think, I don't have to run around and I don't have I are him suffer.

In all honesty, it's too quiet and although I know him going home is the right thing to do, I want him back.

 Come put some noise back in my day! 




Wednesday, 6 November 2013

#GoogleMums

Monday I went to my first blogger event. Ever. (Not going to lie, I was incredible excited - actually excited probably doesn't quite cover it....)

I was invited up to the #GoogleMums event to the incredibly pretty Google HQ near Tottenham Court Road to attend several workshops relating to Google-y type products and services.

#Googlemums was a chance for mums (& dads & me!) to see the new products and learn about how google can positively impact our lives and the best thing for the parents? Kids were invited so that childcare didn't become an issue....

After an incredibly early start on the train with my FMIL (@madmumof7 - the one who got me into this blogging thing...) we headed into London, munching our on-the-go breakfast of Croissants & Pain au chocolat because we're all glamorous like that....

On arrival we were taken to the really pretty room with the white 'not so child friendly' leather sofas which were gorgeous - send them my way when you're done with them? - where we were greeted by the Google Staff and a selection of food and drinks and given the chance to mingle. Hello there to anyone I met! Was amazing to put names to blogs and to actually find more people who are passionate!

The workshops included;

-Creating a work/life balance
-SEO's&Adsense (which I will sit down and properly learn about at some point... I was a little confused to say at the least.)
-Entertainment with google (I will definitely be using Google Hangouts. And the hangout book reading for when a parent is away was actually the sweetest thing!)
-Other google products.

AND we got to play on the Chrome books (Unfortunate thing is the BF really seems to like them...Have a feeling he may land up with one at some point!)

We rounded up our session with Q&A's and then went on our way, marvelling at the Google Offices and being incredibly jealous that people actually get to work there day in day out!


At this point we thought we'd have to go home but instead wandered down to Covent Garden where Christmas has begun (See photo on the left) and did a little Christmas shopping. The hardest present of all - the BF's - is done. Thankf*ck!

All in all, it was an amazing day. I definitely want another day out like that! or a placement at Google!



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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

So it's that time of the year again, the 5th of November. To me the official start to Autumn.... its the time to bring out the hats, gloves and scarves - If you haven't already...

Last week Gunwharf Quays held their annual Firework Display and although the heavens completely opened (what else would they do? It is England I supposed....) and I got completely soaked, it was actually a fairly good show. My BF came down and me and a gang of the flatmates all decided that we'd head off out, see the fireworks and then hit the pub. Perfect night out.

Below are some of my best photos from the night. (The ones that are actually in focus, and have less of my finger in them....)

Me & a rather soggy BF.

Fireworks (Including a rather fetching snap of my thumb!)

Fireworks

Fireworks

Slightly Blurry Fireworks

Spinnaker Tower lit up at night.




 
 
 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Madness & Mud!

Me on a monster Segway (Excuse the slightly
blurry photo!)
Now I'd like to think that I'm one of those people that are spontaneous and like an adventure - Me and the BF more often than not, will head out and see where we land up and what we land up doing, and it could be anything!!

I have this feeling it stems from my mother. She's always taught me to live by the mantra:

"Try absolutely everything, No two experiences are ever the same..."
 
So it is fairly normal for mum to suggest that we go out and do something and then we go along and try it... This has included a family trip on a banana boat which ended up in injury. (But at least we can say we tried it!)
 
The most recent suggestion was offroad Segway-ing! (See picture over there >>)
 
I can safely say that it was the most fun that I have had in a long time. Maybe even ever!
 
After a few teething problems - i.e a couple of wobbles, the inability to stop and a hell of a lot of mud up my brand new clean jeans - we were off, offroading through mud and puddles in the forest.
 
Me and the family definitely loved it - am now threatening to take the BF, Christmas present maybe?! and so long as next time I don't have a rogue Segway* again then I need to have another go!
 
 
 
 
*My rogue Segway decided to run away when I was off and had my back turned. Landed up chasing it several feet which was highly embarrassing!
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