My Favourite Meals: #1 Pork Chops with Avocado and Tomato Salad

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

I am a major salad fiend and the first couple of weeks after moving into my new flat all I would eat was tomato and aubergine salad which I eventually weened myself off of after realising just how much oil it takes to cook the aubergines! My new favourite salad/salsa though is avocado and tomato. I absolutely love it!

It's so simple to make and once you've made it once - there's no going back - you'll be hooked. I use about six medium sized salad tomatoes, 2 avocados, the juice of half a lime, a handful of coriander leaves, 2 red birds eye chillies and half a red onion. Cut and slice as you see fit, mix it together et voila the perfect salad/salsa! Seriously I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! I eat a lot of food so you'd probably want to half the amount of food you use if you're just cooking for one!

Okay so I have a small confession to make... the squash and the sweet potatoes were bought in a bag ready diced and all I did was follow the instructions on the back of the packet and add a bit of garlic and rosemary. I know, I know I'm terrible - how could I? But to be fair I did everything else from scratch and if you've ever tried cutting into a squash you'll understand why I bought it ready cut!

For the pork I browned it on both sides then added a small glass of white wine and dried sage and cooked until the wine had pretty much evaporated and just left a nice kind of glaze on the pork.

What about you guys? What are your favourite recipes? Let me know!

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Recipe: Oven Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Monday, 29 October 2012

Around this time of year there is always, without doubt, an influx of pumpkins - fairy godmothers eat your hearts out. Since the age we were old enough to effectively go begging for sweets with our friends and families, we have been programmed to believe their sole purpose is to brighten our door steps and scare our loving neighbours. I am here to tell you just like Santa and just like the tooth fairy, this is not the case - you have been lied to.

Why you ask have you been lied to? So your parents could keep this delicious secret all to themselves! Now, I must admit when my flatmate (Becca) bounced into the kitchen telling me tales of roasted pumpkin seeds I was a bit unsure. I'd never heard of such a thing before, and the seeds I'd eaten previously in my Graze boxes were just awful. Despite this, she was my flatmate and if I didn't go along with her crazy ideas who knows it might have been me she roasted next! 

Before committing to making my own I tasted some seeds that Becca, who does not cook unless absolutely necessary, had made and well I was very surprised  They were crunchy and salty and SO DAMN GOOD. How could it be I'd never heard of them before?

If you like myself never had the luxury of making these when you were younger or have heard about their wondrous properties (they're loaded with vitamins and protein), let me educate you on this well kept secret.

I'm sure there are numerous ways and I'm also sure those ways are all very tasty but I'm going to tell you how to roast your seeds Efia style. Okay so first, you need a pumpkin! Once you have captured said pumpkin cut it's top off to reveal the goods and either scoop the seeds out with a spoon or just grab them out with your (clean!) hands. 


Once you've retrieved as many seeds as you can rid them of the fleshy pumpkin bits and spread them out on a baking tray - I should mention while you're doing this whack the oven on to 180 degrees or the fan equivalent (160). Now that they're on a baking tray you can prep your master piece! For mine I drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary and also seasoned with a splash of soy sauce and some salt. Becca being the devil in disguise doesn't like chillies or I would have probably added them too.

Once your prep is done put them in the oven and wait for the magic to happen, which is approximately 10mins or when the seeds are no longer chewy/ a light golden brown colour, and enjoy!

These make a great healthy snack or a lovely addition to soups and salads, hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

What about you guys how have you used your pumpkins this year? In the traditional way or have you done something out of the norm? Let me know!

(Please note: Becca is a lovely girl and this story has been dramatised for humorous purposes!) 

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Blog of the Month #1: Little Bo Blab

Sunday, 28 October 2012

So as you might have guessed from the title this is my first ever blog of the month feature and this month's chosen blog is... !

Kerys was one of the first people I followed when I started my blog and she has helped me so much with my silly little questions and always pops over to say hello so thought it was about time I did something for her too.

I think I enjoy Kerys' blog so much because she is a student like myself and her tone when blogging is so friendly and easy to relate to! Most of her posts are fashion and beauty related but from time to time she slips in the odd personal post in there too AND as she's just reached over 10,000 views is due to have a giveaway in the next couple of days!

I'd love if you checked her site out she's a lovely girl and deserves way more followers than she has!

Now for a bit of shameless self promotion... I've recently started a Facebook page and would love for you guys to check it out and 'Like' it if it takes your fancy!

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'Cause Two Can Keep a Secret If One of Them is Dead

Saturday, 27 October 2012

(L-R) Hanna, Emily, Spencer and Aria.
So for those of you who watch Pretty Little Liars the title of my blog post will be all to familiar to you as it's part of the incredibly catchy theme tune! For those of you who do not know I am a MASSIVE fan of Pretty Little Liars. My flatmate Becca introduced me to it a few weeks ago and I have been hooked ever since!

For those of you who have never watched it I will give you the low down without giving too much away! The show is about a group of four female friends who receive anonymous texts from a omnipresent mysterious figure (or figures!!) only known to the girls as 'A' which start after their friend Alison goes missing and is later found dead. 'A' seems to be doing everything in their power to ruin the girls relationships with each other and other people in their lives while they spend their days trying to  work out who 'A' is and stay out of trouble which never really goes to well! 

Not only is the story line incredibly gripping, but the outfits are to die for! These aren't typical American high school outfits, the girls' stylist Mandi Line seriously knows her stuff and each episode I find myself making mental notes to recreate all Aria's outfits.

 Hanna is the girly girl of the group and she is always seen wearing flirty girly outfits and light colours, Aria is the odd ball of the group and wears grungy rock and roll skirts and dresses, Spencer is the preppy one and also the richest of the group so her style is a lot less daring and finally Emily is the sporty spice of the group and is mostly seen wearing trainers but she definitely knows how to rock them!

So a couple of days ago a Halloween special episode was released but I don' think season three properly resumes until January, so that's plenty of time to get up to date if you haven't watched the past seasons!

How about you guys? What are your favourite TV shows at the minute or are you a Pretty Little Liars fanatic like me? Let me know!

Psst my blog has a Facebook page now! Check it out here.

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Wake Me Up When October Ends

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I'm only human, and like every other human I am not constantly happy every day of my life. This month in particular though, has been a bit of a down month for me. Having moved into my new flat with some lovely flatmates who I've grown to love already (see my post about them here) , and with getting a great job (read about that here) within a couple of days of the move back to Aberdeen things were going great... or so I thought.

Starting back at uni was a massive reality check, I'd had about five months out of the game and felt like I'd just been launched into the deep end. I have a three day week - which is brilliant and I know many of my friends would kill to trade places, but the days that I am in are so intense that I find it hard to stay awake let alone focus! For the past week I haven't even made it into uni as it just seems too daunting to get out of bed. Don't get me wrong I definitely made the right choice going to uni - I want to learn and I want to be here I just think over summer I forgot that I wasn't coming back to paradise.

Another thing which has undoubtedly been getting me down is time apart from my boyfriend. We have  a long distance relationship which over the summer wasn't an issue as we basically lived together, but now I'm back in Aberdeen and we're seven hours apart again. Of course we talk all the time, but it's not the same as being in each others company.

And the final things which are getting me down this month are *drumroll* losing my job and finishing my internship (read more about my internship here). So over the summer I was lucky enough to land and internship (a paid one might I add!) with Appointedd which was great and gave me experience that you can't put a price tag on! However at the beginning we both agreed it should last for a three month long period so it didn't get in the way of my studies. I'd never really thought about what would happen when it came to an end, it just seemed like a distant future so when it finally came round it was a bit of a shock to the system really, especially as a week later I lost my job.

 As I previously described my job was near enough perfect for my requirements (minus tottering around for long periods of time in platform heels) it was flexible (which meant I had time to see my boyfriend), great money (I'm a broke student and who doesn't like money!) and often fun. Unfortunately I received a message last week informing me and the rest of my team that our boss was resigning due to unforeseen circumstances and that the Aberdeen team (this is a national company) would cease to exist until next year when they hire someone else.

The way I've described it here has made it sound like a pretty depressing month but as you know every cloud *ahem*... most clouds have a silver lining. So, October is also my birthday month and I was a very lucky girl who got spoiled by her friends and my big sister who spent a fortune on me! And October is also the month of Halloween my favourite holiday! Although never making it into uni, I seem to be making a good start into my coursework and next week I get to spend some time with my boyfriend and hit up a Halloween party in London - where I seem to be spending most of my free time these days.

So just thought I'd give you a quick life update, if you managed to get to the end of this depressing post then I salute you!

What about you guys? How was starting back at uni for you and if it was a shaky start like mine how did you manage to cope with the pressure?

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DIY Coconut and Orange Lip Balm

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

There is nothing worse than dry, chapped lips (especially when you're a lipstick addict like me!) and I am forever hearing bad things about petroleum based lip balms (yes Vaseline I'm talking about you!).  With this painstakingly cold weather dry lips are inevitable and it's important to treat them well so I decided to make some of my own natural lip balm with my willing lab rats *ahem* flatmates!

You will need:

1 ounce of beeswax (I got mine from here)
50g of hard coconut oil or the melted equivalent (I got mine from here)
10ml vitamin e oil (I got mine from here)
A tsp of sweet orange oil (I got mine from here)

And containers for your finished product! I bought these but in the future I would buy bigger containers (10ml) or small jam jars

So first we grated the ounce of beeswax, we all took turns as the beeswax was so hard and we used a rubbish grater! Once grated we combined the beeswax and coconut oil in a microwaveable jug and melted the mixture. This didn't take very long so keep your eye on it as if over heated beeswax can go weird! Once melted add the vitamin E oil and the sweet orange oil gradually depending on how orangey you want it to smell!

We tested out the mixture in one pot and let it set (stick yours in the fridge to speed up setting time) before pouring them all just incase we needed to make a few changes. I think we melted it down again and added a bit of extra oil but it's all down to personal preference! All the ingredients are natural so it's super moisturising for your lips without any nasty chemicals. We are in love with the finished product and are already planning our next batch for Christmas gifts!

It's so simple to change the smell with different oils and next time I think we're going to try adding colour too! Just experiment 'til you come up with something you like.

What about you guys? Have you ever made your own cosmetics before? How did they turn out?

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Think Pink October Wishlist

Monday, 22 October 2012

1. Topshop, Petite MOTO Leigh jeans (£38)// 2. River Island pink pearl beanie hat (£13)// 3. H&M, cardigan (£25)// 4. Zatchels, pastel baby pink leather satchel (£76-£111)// 5. Miss Selfridge pink bow and heart wrist wear (£8.50)

I absolutely LOVE pink and these are my favourite pink picks for the month! I am so desperate to own the Zatchel bag but my boyfriend insists it would be a waste of money so I'm going to leave it for now and if I'm still pining after it in a months time nothing is going to hold me back! I've actually bought the pink Topshop jeans but they are super tight, so they feel more like leggings than jeans so I am in two minds, but I really like the colour. I tried on the W28's but alas they were too big so might just have to see how it goes with these teeny ones, fingers crossed I can wear them in! 

I don't know about everywhere else but Aberdeen is FREEZING already! It's not even winter, how can this be?! Anyway, it is most certainly hat weather which is why I can't wait to get my paws on this super cute River Island number. 


So there is actually another reason for this post... As many of you may know October is breast cancer awareness month. When I was fourteen a close family member passed away from breast cancer which makes the cause all the more personal. It is not just older people who are at risk it is EVERYONE which makes it so, so important to check your boobies girlies!

It only takes five minutes to check and can save a lifetime of struggle, if you're not sure what to feel for you could always ask a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend to check for you - it is nothing to be embarrassed about!

What about you guys? What's on your October wish lists? Let me know!

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The Life of An Intern

Friday, 19 October 2012

I have recently finished a three month long internship with - an online portal for booking hair and beauty appointments due to launch in the next few months - and thought I would give you guys an insight into that time.

In my first year at uni, right from the start, we were told to start thinking about our futures and to cram as much experience as possible into any free time we had. Now some people listened to this and went about their day to day lives as normal, but myself and several others took this on board and went out and grabbed opportunity by the horns.

My first few weeks of summer (which if you're at university is a VERY long summer - 4 and a half months in my case) I was struggling to find work, I wasn't desperate for money but I needed something to keep me occupied and though I was already writing for SkintNation at the time, I needed something else.

A few weeks later I saw a Facebook post by a lovely lady, and also friend, who I had met at a festival last year looking for interns for a new business that she was starting up. I was living in Sheffield at the time so was dubious about getting offered a position as Leah and the business are Edinburgh based so I would have to work from home, nonetheless I sent along my CV and some pieces I'd written for local newspapers and SkintNation and Leah took a leap of faith and hired me as her first intern.

I'd asked to help out with the social media side of her business and though I had no professional experience within a few weeks I'd got to grips with doing things from a professional point of view. Leah was an incredible boss and we always worked together to come up with ideas and goals which worked brilliantly.

I am not going to go into too much detail on what I did but here is a very brief list: updating social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, building up followers across all sites, writing and researching blog posts, using analytics to track performance and optimize site and look for innovative ways to gain exposure.

Pros +

Working from comfort of own home
Flexible days and hours
PAID (paid internships are hard to come by!)
Opinions and ideas valued and taken into consideration
Given the freedom to make operational decisions

Cons -

Working from home - from time to time felt it would have been better to discuss certain things in person
Working with social media means it's incredibly hard to switch off, even when I wasn't supposed to be working I'd feel the urge to quickly check the Twitter or just add one little status

My Tips to You

Dont sell yourself short - make sure to emphasise all your qualities and how you could be an asset to said company
Make use of your connections - I met Leah randomly at a festival you never know where you could meet your future employer so be alert!
Do the best you can - even if the position isn't paid make sure to give 110% as whoever you work for may offer to keep you on and give you a paid position in the future and if you were an employer you'd expect the best from your employees
Don't be afraid to share your ideas - you never know you might just have an amazing idea that the company continues to use once your internship is over
Try and have fun - My internship although challenging at times was great fun and I had a real sense of achievement when I completed my goals

Overall it was a great experience and so grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved. Having had this experience so early on means I'll be in good stead for the future and can build upon my experiences and networks built!

What about you guys? Did you do any internships over the summer? Are you planning already for next year? Let me know!

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Thrifty Thursday #2: How to Save Money This Christmas

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Grab your jingle bells this week's Thrifty Thursday instalment is all about... Christmas!  It's not even Halloween yet and already most stores (and a few homes!) are decked in garish Christmas decor and we are reminded of a daunting (or for some exciting) truth - Christmas is closer than you think.

So my first tip to you, lovely readers, is to start now. Drop what you're doing, grab your purse and head to the shops. Okay, well maybe not right this second, but in the very near future. The sooner it gets to Christmas the more shops deem it fit to charge you a high price for any item which could be perceived as a gift.

Think outside the box - literally. No one really wants to receive a gift set which took all of three seconds of thought. But this doesn't mean you can't buy a couple anyway and mix and match the items for individual presents.

Secret Santa is your friend. Flatmates, work colleagues, friends can you imagine if you had to buy each group separate presents? You'd be up to your eyeballs in debt! Admittedly most people don't do Secret Santa amongst their families, but among friends it's definitely a great way to save those precious pennies.

Stock up! I've noticed recently H&M doing these cute little body butters for just £1! If you see a great deal take advantage of it and get a few, The Body Shop are also having an incredible sale at the moment and are selling some of their most popular body butters for only £6.50 and seem to always be doing deals on their online site! And don't forget to utilise your student discount if you have one!

If your quite the dab hand with arts and crafts another great way to save money is to make your own Christmas presents. If done well it gives a lovely personal touch to your gifts and cuts your spending drastically! If you're stuck for ideas here, here and here are some to help you get started. 

Not just at Christmas, but for any occasion which requires wrapping gifts, I just cannot bear to spend as much as the gifts themselves on wrapping paper! In the past I've made my own gift wrap out of old magazines and you can make your own too. Use newspapers and tie with colourful ribbon to offset the monochrome, retain gift bags from your own birthday and reuse these and use tissue paper to give presents a delicate look! For my eighteenth I even received one present wrapped in tin foil! At the end of the day, the paper is going to be discarded so theres no need to create extra waste or spend extra money on expensive shop made wrapping.
So there you have it! What about you guys? What are your tips for saving money over Christmas? Let me know!
Psst! Read the last weeks Thrifty Thursday here!

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The Body Shop Haul

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Body Shop

I have a confession to make. I am a massive Body Shop fan! Their products smell delicious and make my skin feel fab - what's not to love? Anyway a couple of days ago I had a little peek in the window and was lured in by the tactfully placed sales signs and this (shown above) is what I came out with!

I initially went in with the intention of spending no more than £15, as I had one of those £10 off when you spend £25 vouchers, however I was led astray by a lovely sales assistant who gave me a skin consultation (I have normal skin - yay!) which resulted in me buying three products from the Vitamin E face range! Also because it was three for two on skin care products AND the moisturiser was half price I got a set with miniature versions of everything which I think I'll use for Christmas presents!

On my way to the till I was seduced by the Blueberry Body Butter which was on sale for just £6.50 and the Vanilla Body Mist which usually retail for £9 but was reduced to £3.50 then I quickly went to pay before I got distracted by anything else.

All in my purchase came to £23.50 which is incredible for the amount of high quality stuff and I am going to smell and feel great for months to come - bargain!

What about you guys? Whats your favourite Body Shop product? And do you have any of these? Let me know!

Check out my duty free haul here!

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Duty Free Haul

Sunday, 14 October 2012

So a couple of weeks ago I flew from Aberdeen to London with my good friend Chelsea for The International London Tattoo Convention and on the way back of course we had a delve into the magical kindgom that is duty free shopping.

This is an Aladdin's cave if there ever was one. The duty free shop at Gatwick sells everything from sweeties to high end designer hand bags ALL tax free which means the more expensive the product - the higher the discount.vAs we didn't have much time to spare between our flight we only managed to pick up a few things, but if we'd have stayed for any longer our bank balances would have taken a serious hit!

Chelsea opted for a peach shimmery Chanel blusher which I can't remember the name of, and a MAC lipstick in Rebel. I got the same lipstick as my sister destroyed my first one and I've been in mourning ever since.

I also got a MAC eyebrow pencil in Spiked 

and I purchased one of my favourite perfumes - Black XS by Paco Rabanne.

All in I saved about twenty pounds from the normal shop price, bargain right?!

What did you last buy from duty free and which airport did you buy from? Let me know!

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