Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Round Up

Lets face it, 2013 was pretty awesome. I'm almost sad to see it go - 2014 has so much to live up to!

In 2013 I...

* Finished my dissertation, and with it my final year of university
Not pictured: 8 weeks of crying, swearing and throwing a Mac across the room trying to compute the stats portion
* Took up an awesomely fun new hobby
My aptitude for hanging upside is somewhat unparalleled.
* Moved back from university and parted ways with some amazing friends (but not forever!)
God dammit those 2am nightclub photos are always so flattering.
* Met my musical hearthrob
* Threw my sister an awesome (if I do say so myself) hen do
Jazz hands were enforced.
* Graduated from three years of hard work
I'm the one in the hat, in case you were confused
* Moved into a flat with my wonderful boyfriend
The table is still standing, because I didn't build it.
* Had my cake featured on BBC2... Twice.
I cried.
* Took on the role of Maid of Honour at my beautiful sisters wedding
I cried again.
* Completed the Color Run, and with it my first 'official' 5K race. Many more planned for 2014!
Though my 2014 races will probably be less messy....
* Got a job after just a couple of months of searching (no photo for this, unless you want a screenshot of my many, many emails?)

* Went to see my first full rugby match at Wembley Stadium
Unfortunately it was a lose for the Saracens... fortunately, I'm a Harlequins fan.
* Said a very sad goodbye to my lovely childhood friend, Snowball
R.I.P beautiful girl x
Not to end this post on a sad note, but losing Snowie was the last big thing to happen this year. Apart from all of the above it's been work work work... (Gym) Work work work! And I wouldn't change it for the world. Love my job and who I work with, love my flat and who I live with, love my family and friends even though we're not all in one place.

Happy New Year guys. May this one be even better than the last.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

(Not quite) Thursday Feasts #2 - Swirled Rocky Road

Just imagine it's Thursday not Sunday, k? If you read my last post, I'm sure you'll understand why Thursday Feasts has taken a little while to get off the ground. But it's back and it's back for good!

Rocky road, or as it was known in our family, 'fridge cake' was one of my favourite foods growing up. I have great memories of not only making it but the delight of realising one of my parents had made it - it was the only thing my Dad ever 'baked'! I have wonderful memories of making this in a loaf tin and slicing a 'slice' off for my breakfast whilst my parents weren't looking ;) Not the healthiest start to the day but man does it hit the spot. The recipe is so simple but utterly delicious and it's such a quick make that you don't really have an excuse not to.

I pulled the base recipe for this from the BBC food website, but adapted it a little for myself. It also takes inspiration from a rocky road sold in my uni town by a local cafe. 

Swirled Rocky Road


  • 100g/4½oz soft unsalted butter
  • 300g/10½oz best-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g/7¼oz chocolate digestive biscuits (roughly crushed)
  • 100g malteasers (roughly crushed)
  • 50g glace cherries (roughly chopped)
  • 75g mini marshmallows
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter if desired


  1. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in either a glass bowl over a saucepan of hot water on the stove or in the microwave (if microwaving, stir the syrup in once the butter and chocolate have melted and make sure you heat it in 30 seconds bursts, stirring in between to ensure it doesn't burn).
  2. Stir in the roughly crushed digestives, malteasers and cherries until all are coated. If you're adding peanut butter, stir 1 of the tablespoons in now. The mixture should be rough but still quite fluid. If you have just coated the biscuits and cherries with little chocolate/butter/syrup left, you'll need to add more.
  3. **Optional** If you add the marshmallows in when the mixture is still hot from being melted, they too will melt and dissolve into your rocky road. Either chill in the fridge for ten minutes or leave the mixture for half an hour to cool if you want to make sure that your marshmallows remain whole. If you don't have time, then only stir a small amount of them into the mix and put the rest aside.
  4. Line a square dish with tin foil as smoothly as possible. Pour the mixture into the tin. Using a teaspoon, swirl the remaining peanut butter through the top layer of the mix. It should create a lovely yellow marbling pattern. Push the remaining marshmallows into the top and refrigerate until solid. Serve by cutting it into chunks with a big knife.

The wonderful thing about this is that you can really go wild with your imagination and put whatever you want in it, as long as it's crunchy and you like the taste! If you don't like malteasers, then why not try M+Ms or fudge pieces? If you are allergic to peanut butter, why not try swirling caramel across the top or even a green coloured peppermint sauce? Your imagination and tastes are the limit here. 

One of the best versions of this I tasted had white chocolate malteasers, digestives and mars bar chunks in... Just throwing that out there.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The 'big five'; AKA the busiest month of my life.

For some reason this year it appeared that all the big events that I was a part of took place in a matter of weeks. Now they're all done it's time to take a breather and relax with a cuppa whilst looking at the photographic damage! For the most part, I'll let the photos do the talking.

First was my sister's hen do - for this we did a 'Strictly Come Dancing' party with The Cheerleading Company (who I would thoroughly recommend) and then a scavenger hunt and a meal followed by some fun, games and alcohol.

hen do cheerleading company dance party

hen do

Secondly, we had my Dad's summer ball. Drunken revelry commenced and a good time was had by all! We go to this most years and it's always a good laugh. The booze flows as the drinks prices are generally about a quarter of that you'd pay for in a regular bar (can of diet coke = 35p!) and there's always bottles of wine and cider or beer on the tables that you can have.

The only photo of the night that I'm willing to show you (because it's already on facebook and I can't hide my shame)...
summer ball drunk


God damn it I am sexy. The sad thing is this was taken at 7pm, just after we'd got there, so I can't even blame my hideous facial antics on alcohol.

Thirdly, we had the rather large occasion of my sister's wedding! I don't know about her but it feels like this has been in the planning stages for years so to actually get to the day was really exciting. I'm still doing residual wedding 'stuff' (some secret stuffs and some not so secret stuffs) but it was all so much fun I don't really mind reliving it.

wedding charli simon soham church

wedding charli bridesmaid bride

Finally, a photo of me looking like I can drink wine like a normal person!

Fourthly, two days after we celebrated Simon and Charli tying the knot, we drove up to Wales so that I could attend my graduation ceremony.

graduation family


Finally, we drove to Manchester (again, two days after driving to North Wales, and four days after driving home from Cambridge) for a wonderful event called 'The Color Run'. A Color Run is basically a 5k run with a twist; at every kilometre there is a 'color station'. This is where volunteers throw powdered paint at you to make you all bright and colourful... For comparison, side by side of before the race and after:

the color runthe color run

So much fun, I can't wait to do it again next year! I finished in 33 minutes 21 seconds so that is my time to beat. It was a fantastic day and it was lovely to run it in Manchester, my boyfriend's home town. My parents met his family afterwards, so it really was a great weekend.

All of this took place between the 14th of June and the 21st of July - phew! Now I have nothing left to look forward to... so I guess I should find another run or something ;) Or I could attend to my poorly neglected blogs... haha!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thursday Feasts #1 - M+M cookies

Welcome to one of my new features! Every Thursday I will be showing you guys something I've cooked or baked in the last week. And to start, we have these wonderful cookies that I made these for my boyfriend to take into work with him and I have to say, they are the best cookies I've ever made! They're really chewy and as you can see, kept their shape fantastically.

cookies, baking, m and ms

Om nom nom. I made a batch of 16 and there are only 5 left... The recipe is very simple. And here it is...

Adapted from All Recipes

Best M+M cookies


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of baking powder
  • 3/4 cups of melted butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cups of golden caster sugar  (I took out the brown sugar from the original recipe as I don't like the strong taste of it. If you don't mind, then sub it back in.)
  • 1/2 cup of white caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (Alternatively, if you have it, you can use vanilla flavoured caster sugar and skip this)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4s of a sharing bag of M+Ms = reduce if you want more cookie to M+M ratio!*
Oven temp: 160 degrees C 
  1. Combine the dry ingredients into one bowl and set aside. Melt the butter. Combine sugars in a big bowl.
  2. Pour the melted butter over the sugars and mix until it seems to be fully combined/not very grainy.
  3. Add in the whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract if you're using it and combine again until light and creamy.
  4. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir/fold until just combined. Add in your M+Ms and mix again.
  5. Grab a baking tray and portion out cookie dough onto the sheet (no need to grease) roughly 3 inches apart. Put the tray in the freezer for five minutes.
  6. Take the tray out of the freezer and bake for 6 minutes to 10 minutes. They're done when they start to go golden brown around the outside. When you take them out, leave them on the oven tray for fifteen minutes before removing them to cool.
*I used a whole bag of M+Ms and there really were too many. I also recommend roughly bashing half the M+Ms so that you get a nice difference in texture and more colour 'oomph'.

Now, number 5 is an odd instruction but it makes a lot of sense; cookies rely on the butter and binding ingredients in them being cold to keep their shape. If you've ever made cookies before you'll know that warm cookies spread incredibly quickly and lose their shape rapidly - they go thin and greasy. This stops this totally! You don't want to freeze them completely, just make sure that they're cold to the touch. When they go into the oven cold they cook through fast and don't have the temperature needed to 'dissolve' onto the tray.

You really can't beat one of these with a cup of steaming hot fresh tea. If you leave them on the saucer they warm up and go all gooey again!

cookies, baking, m and ms
Tea and a biscuit, that Great British institution!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

NOTD - Leopard print nail art

notd, leopard print, accessorize, claires, barry m, blue, nail art, freehand,

What's this? Another nail of the day in less than a week? Amazing!

Hahah, well the devil makes work for idle hands... but only when they're nicely polished :)

I've been dying to try this style out but I didn't really have the time for it. I'm waiting for a job to start so I've got a good month of doing very little - which will mean a lot of NOTD posts, especially as I'm not allowed to wear polish at work!

notd, leopard print, accessorize, claires, barry m, blue, nail art, freehand,

Base coat - Accessorize 'Aquamarine', Spots - (freehand with nail art brush) Barry M 'Gold' with Claires Accessories 'Black' nail art pen accents.

This style looks great and is so easy to do; just paint your base coat on, then when dry do random blobs of your spot colour (as irregular as you can manage - if you have them it's easier to do this with a small nail art brush) and then when that's dry take a pin or a very skinny nail art brush to create a 'shadow' on each splodge. Sorted!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Recent purchases

I've found it quite hard to find anything nice in the shops recently amongst the myriad of crop tops, maxi dresses in hideous patterns and high waisted skirts. My main gripe with these three items is that they just don't suit my body type... I don't have the belly for crop tops - besides, no-one wants to see a pasty white band of flesh, most geometric prints don't suit me and my wonderfully ample derriere grows to double the size in a high waisted pleather skirt (well ok, I tried a nice high waisted skirt on the other day which didn't look terrible BUT they're pretty much only appropriate when you have a crop top on, which brings me back to my first point).

Eventually I did manage to find a dress that I liked enough to try on and buy! Yay!

Here it is:

Isn't that gorgeous? £19.99 from New Look! It's so summery. Now we just need some sunshine so I can wear it.

In town at the same time I had a bit of a book splurge... I have a kindle so I don't normally buy books but occasionally I'll pop in to have a look and see if they have anything (some of the charity shops are cheaper to buy from than it is to download the same book onto my Paperwhite). On this occasion I found three books that I've been wanting to read for ages:

One of these books is actually going to be the star in an exciting new feature I'll be rolling out on both this blog and my other blog in about a weeks time - so watch this space!

Friday, 21 June 2013

NOTD - Guardian Angel over Milan

It's very well documented on this blog that I'm not a fan of pink based looks but this combination of colours is the definite exception to the rule.

Glitzology - Guardian Angel bottle

For this I grabbed two of my untrieds - No. 7 'Milan' which I got through the NPAA christmas secret santa and Glitzology 'Guardian Angel'. Whilst it's not a complicated look, it definitely has the wow factor and would be great to brighten up an office!

Glitzology Guardian Angel No. 7 Milan

Glitzology Guardian Angel No. 7 Milan

Even though Milan has a silver based sparkle and Guardian Angel is gold based, they compliment each other really well. One that I'll definitely be wearing again!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Who's been a bad blogger? I've been a bad blogger!

I'll try and spare you all the excuses but the truth is, life just got in the way of blogging for a few months there! But I've now finished uni completely and have moved in with my boyfriend so I'm pretty free. I have a job starting at the end of July but before then it's the wedding and a few other wonderful events that I will blog about later on - so it's still pretty busy here!

So what have I been up to? Here's a load of pictures to (hopefully) explain my absence!

During my last term at uni I spent a lot of time doing a bit of this:


And a decent amount of time doing this:

And just before my birthday I went to see this man play in concert and met him in the bar after the show:

And after a long few months of planning, I've just got back from a weekend doing this:

Me, my sister (it was her hen do) and my mum :)
Nail wise, I've done this:

My nails are looking a lot better than they were the last time I blogged, they're stronger and they're growing really nicely again so I shall be able to do some more nail posts in the future! Yay!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Bargain beauty buy - Primark Neon Polishes

Primark is revered in many ways for their cheap clothing and accessories - unfortunately most of it is made in sweat shops in India by small children. Despite this they've rapidly become a high street staple and in the economic down turn we've been experiencing are a god send for those of us on a budget.

As a general rule, I don't like Primark nail polishes - but this little set of four caught my eye immediately on a recent shopping trip. Neons are definitely in this summer and as per usual all the big brands are releasing their own versions; from Models Own to Essie. Primark like to try and keep up with the trends whilst being affordable so it's no surprise that you can buy four mini neon polishes from them for just £2!

So what do they apply like? Well, unfortunately the tiny bottle and brush makes them quite hard to handle and apply neatly - but the actual nail lacquer inside is gorgeous. I tried out the shell pink one for the purposes of this blog post and here is how it looked after one coat!

There's hardly any visible nail line, the colour is strong and vivid and it dried really nicely. I went back and put another coat on and to be honest, whilst it made the colour even more vivid, it was very hard to do as the bottom layer seemed to go sticky even though it was bone dry before hand; as this colour at least is very pigmented I would say that actually, you can get away with just the one.

I normally hate pinks or oranges but this is lovely and I'm so glad I picked this set up - I can see myself using it a whole lot this summer! The different colours in the range look equally exciting. The yellow definitely has a goldy shimmer to it and the pink is so bright I think I would feel like Barbie wearing it!

The best thing about this set though is the price. I broke my no-buy for this pack but as it was just £2 I don't really consider it a fail. I was in Boots yesterday browsing the stands as you do and I totally bypassed the Models Own new Ice Neon collection because quite frankly, I don't need it any more, I have this!

Thoroughly recommended.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Summer sun wishlist

I don't normally do wishlists largely because if I want something, I tend to just buy it right there and then. Now that I'm coming to the end of my degree, I'm trying to get into better spending habits and save up for things I want rather than just impulsively buying them!

This wishlist is a bit of an eclectic mix - my style is definitely changing!

summer wishlist 2013

1) Cream bird print dress, £12.99 from New Look. This is a really nice simple summery dress that would look great at a picnic or even a pub garden. I'm really loving prints (even though I already have a bird print dress!) this year. The sleeveless style will be perfect for sunny days and sunbathing.

2) Mulberry denim shorts, £10 from Firetrap (USC). Shorts are a staple for me in summer, and I love bold colours and patterns. More often than not on hot days my go to outfit is a pair of bold shorts and a plain t shirt; comfy in the heat and still girly.

3) Black suedette dolly shoe, £20 from Faith. Shoes are a tricky thing for me as my feet are wide and very soft - I get blisters at the drop of a hat from the lightest rub and it's hard to find shoes that really fit me. This pair of dolly shoes are both cute and functional; and they make a change to my normal summer trend of plain black pumps.

4) Cream embellished heart vest, £22 from River Island. Normally, as I said earlier, I tend to wear a plain top with shorts in summer - but this heart vest is really cute and would look awesome with a pair of casual denim blue shorts.

5) Floral print lace insert playsuit, £20 from BooHoo. I kinda... fell asleep for the playsuit craze last year/the year before but this summer I want to get myself one; there are some lovely designs out there and they're not too expensive to get either. This lace and rose print version from BooHoo is stunning and summery; perfect for all weathers this summer.

6) Swarovski wedding cuff bracelet, £15 from Etsy. Despite the fact that this is intended for use by a bride as part of a wedding outfit, I think this bracelet is absolutely stunning and would be fantastic to glam up a summery outfit for a night out. Plus it's pretty!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Nat vs the Cake Pop

(Or as it will now be known as, 'the day the cake pops won... again.')

As it's my Dad's birthday today (Happy Birthday Dad!) I set about baking him a cake. Mindful of the fact that both me and my mum are on diets pre-wedding in July, and that my Dad is only home for 4 days, I didn't want to make an actual cake. I just wanted something small and easy for the three (or four) of us to eat.

I've made cake pops before but they were an actual disaster - I didn't put enough frosting in, I didn't put chocolate on the stick before I shoved it into the pop, and consequently all my pops ended up taking a permanent dive into the bin. This time however I was prepared. I knew exactly what I was doing and when, I knew how much of what I was putting in where, and I was ready. I was going to win this battle.

For those of you not in the know, a cake pop is a small, round ball of cake and frosting smushed together, shaped onto a lollipop stick and then decorated. You can get some gorgeous cake pops that are real works of art -

Bakerella's 'love' display
If you're in London you can buy them from The Pop Bakery

What do mine look like? Well, uhm, not as good as those.

They look ok, right? Not perfect but ok. 

Apart from I made 24 cake balls... and only 12 cake pops. 12 decided to swan dive off into the candy melts I was using :( so like a mature adult, I made sure I had enough for everyone and then did the most adult thing I've done all day... threw my spoon on the floor, threw the rest of the candy melts down the drain and stomped off to sulk for five minutes. One day I'll actually grow up... hehe. I'm just passionate, honest!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Life is hectic

Sorry for a non polish related post - I'm still having major issues with my nails. My index and middle fingers just won't stop peeling; even though my little finger nails are stronger and longer than ever! It's very weird. I'm trying Sea Kelp tablets to see whether or not that will work - but they're so big they're hard to swallow and I keep forgetting to take them!

My peely nails (sob) combined with my no-buy until I finish uni mean that in reality, I haven't had much chance to blog or even paint my nails. I am of course still frequenting the nail polish addicts forum and getting my fill of beautiful nails there.

So what have I been doing other than wandering around like a lost soul on polish forums? Well, for one I've been doing uni work. I am SWAMPED! But then again, I guess that's a final year, final semester thing. My tea intake has increased three fold (my wonderful friend Kate wrote a brilliant blog post here about her tea consumption relating to her dissertation!) and I'm just trying to get everything done to the best of my ability. It's hard work though. I'm also half heartedly applying for jobs and searching for a flat to live for when I do graduate as my boyfriend is moving out of his place soon and we're going to live together. And then there's my sister's hen do to plan - which is coming along fantastically, the strippers are booked and the penis straws have been purchased* - and the fact that I have no money to do anything exciting any way...

I guess one thing I have been doing recently is drawing more. When I get stressed, sometimes the only way to bring a little calm into my life is by drawing. Here's a couple of my more recent drawings:

Phew! I wanted to write this post because I'm procrastinating like a good student I miss the blogging world! I'm going to have a cuppa and go back over my favourite blogs now I think. Then crack on with more work!

*There may not actually be any strippers and there are definitely NO penis straws, but my sister wants it to be a surprise and it's fun winding her up in case she reads it. Rest assured Charli, your hen do is going to be f%^&ing awesome!