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Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Food I Have Been Loving This Week #9

So much food that I wanted to include this time but I've managed to cut it down to 6 of my favourites from the past few weeks!
Quorn Sausage Patties - Who would have thought that I would actually like meat free food? I love chicken, mince, bacon, burgers etc. but over the last year I've really got into some Quorn products and these Sausage Patties are becoming a bit of a staple in our freezer. They are £1.90 for a pack of 4 and honestly they don't even taste that different to normal sausages, but they're healthy and vegetarian so great if you're wanting to cut down on meat or just change up what your eating. I love to have these for breakfast as they're so quick to cook in a pan, and we've also had them for tea before with things like bacon, toast, beans and waffles (because we're absolute children). 

Aldi Orange Sticks - We stocked up on these at Christmas as we had never seen them before in Aldi and they were just so christmassy and tasted so nice. They were only about £1 usually but then they reduced them to like 79p a few weeks before Christmas so we had a few packs of these and the mint ones for over December and we actually still have some left! They're exactly like Matchmakers so if you've tried those before then you'd like these too. I'm really hoping they'll be back for next Christmas!

Spicentice Chips & Wedges Seasoning - Last year I did a blog post for Spicentice and reviewed a few of their products, recently they released a few new spices including a chips & wedges seasoning which I had to order. I ordered two of these along with some of the burger rub which I reviewed and it has made such a difference to normal slimming world chips. I get really bored of homemade chips but this little pack of seasoning has really spiced them up, literally, and at the time of writing this, I have just ordered 4 more packs of the stuff! It's £1.50 for a pack and I get at least two lots of chips out of one so it lasts over a good few meals.

Heck Sausages - These are just delicious. Heck do a range of sausages and burgers but my favourite of theirs are the Smoky Paprika ones and the Chicken Italia ones. Both just taste so good and as their chicken sausages rather than pork they're just a bit different and as I follow Slimming World, these are really great on the plan and much healthier than some others. I've been making quite a few meals with them as they were on offer in Asda . I made a casserole with the smoky paprika ones a few weeks ago and I've also made a pasta bake with the chicken italia ones a few times. They're quite pricey usually so I always try to stock up on a few different flavours whenever they're on offer. 

Mint Oreos - I had seen these in shops a few times, these and the Strawberry Cheesecake ones but if I'm gonna go for Oreos I usually just get the normal ones so I didn't try these until a few weeks ago. Now I'm a little bit obsessed. I love anything mint flavoured, seriously it's my fave so I really don't know why I was so unsure of these! They don't have an overpowering flavour of mint but it's enough and they are so moreish. I can't stop at just one. 

Slow Cooker Nandos Chicken - We got a slow cooker for Christmas and it has changed my cooking life, so much so I'm going to do a post with all my favourite meals I've been making with it. One I had to mention now though is something I have been making loads, slow cooker nandos chicken. It's just so easy and it always tastes amazing. I use 2 chicken breasts and a pouch of nandos sauce, that are about £1, leave it on high for 4 hours and then after that I shred it. We have been absolutely loving this with rice, halloumi and pitta. 

Writing this post has made me so hungry! So much yummy food included this time, all of it I want to eat again right now, especially the mint oreos. Have you tried any of these?

Did you see my last post? Homeware Wishlist - Next, TK Maxx & More!

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Monday, 30 January 2017

Homeware Wishlist - TK Maxx, Next & More...

It is has been so long since I last did one of these! I love doing little wishlists, especially homeware ones because I am always looking for new bits to add to each room. There are just so many lovely things out at the moment. I want it all. 

I'm going to start with Asda because they actually do some really lovely home things. I've got so many candles from there in the past and just recently I got a gorgeous copper photo frame for only £3! I was always picking things up from there when we did our weekly shop there in Leicester so it's probably a good thing we're not as close to one at the moment. The first thing I saw online was this vase with roses. We already have something like this in the bathroom but it really needs replacing and I have been struggling to find something similar for a good price. This is only £4 and really pretty. Another thing I saw and loved was, a bronze pendant lampshade which I think would be perfect for our spare room. We've lived here over two years and still don't have one for it. The final thing from Asda which I am obsessed with it this copper effect wire lamp. I love the wire part of this and it's so different to anything else we have. I think it would look great in our living room.
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I very rarely buy homeware from H&M but people always seem to pick some great things up from there, they do so much copper stuff and that seems to be the theme I'm going with! I love this large printed vase, it's so unique and again would go lovely in our living room. I love buying mugs and we have loads already but how nice is this metallic one? I just love it. The last few bits I saw on H&M were, this small glass tealight holder, I think this would go perfect anywhere and this clear glass box. I would love to put this box on a desk in our spare room and use it to store bits of stationery and lots of pens! I don't really wear much jewellery or anything so I would love to use it for something a bit different.
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The last few bits are all just a bit random but one of them I really, really need. The most amazing duvet cover from next, it is fleece! It looks incredibly soft and I can just imagine how amazing it would be going to sleep each night just wrapped up in this. Of all the things on this wishlist, I think this is something I genuinely have to get! Another thing I just love is this paddington bear sketch from TK Maxx. I love TK Maxx for odd bits you probably wouldn't find anywhere else and I am just obsessed with bears and things paddington related so this would be so perfect. The last thing is this lantern from Matalan. I have been wanting something like this for so long for next to our TV stand. I see them everywhere and they are expensive but I just think they look so good. This one also has an LED candle in it too so no need to keep replacing the candle or worry about getting wax all over it. 
Source 1, Source 2, Source 3.
I just love it all. Sometimes I just get the urge to buy loads of new things for the flat and change everything but I really don't have the money for that!

Do you like anything on this wishlist? Have you got anything similar?

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Friday, 27 January 2017

Coconut Lane Prints...

A few months ago I was a runner up in a Coconut Lane giveaway so I won a £10 voucher to use on their website! I entered two giveaways in the space of a few weeks and won one and came runner up in another which I was pretty pleased with to say I never win anything! 
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I had only seen Coconut Lane a few times online and I didn't know much about them but they offer a range of homeware, prints, gifts, stationery, jewellery and clothing. Once I saw they did prints, I decided to use my voucher for two of those as I thought they would be a perfect addition to our photo wall. The first one I chose was the Blair Waldorf print for £6. I love Gossip Girl and Blair was always my favourite character so this was just perfect! As I still had some money left on the voucher I decided to use the rest of it and pay for the extra to get the Forward is Forward print for £6 which was made in collaboration with vlogger Maddie Bruce. I loved this one as sometimes I feel other people are doing things I would love to do and I always feel so far off from those things but this print really reminded me the speed I'm going at doesn't matter and as long as I'm working towards the things I want I'll get there one day. All profits made from this print go to SANE Mental Health Charity which is brilliant!
I think £6 for each print is an amazing price, as I've seen some ridiculous prices for them in the past. These were so affordable as a lot of other pieces are at Coconut Lane and they arrived after about 2 days which was much quicker than I expected! These would make a great present for someone, they have some fab things to choose from and their prints are great quality for the prices! I will definitely be ordering more in the future. 

Have you bought anything from Coconut Lane before?

If you liked this post you might to read - Creating A Photo Wall!

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Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Best Hacks For People Who Love Baking...

Over the last year or so I've discovered some tips and hacks to help with baking and I wanted to share them with you! As I'm sure you know by now, I love to bake and I like it to be as simple as possible so some of these tips have really helped me and made sure I get the best end result. 
Keeping Cake Moist - This is my top baking tip and it is a strange one, but if you want to keep your cakes soft and moist then leave a slice of bread on each one while they are cooling. The bread hardens over time but the cake stays so moist. This also works if a cake has been left for a few hours and has started to go stale. Leave it with a slice of bread for a while and it steals the moisture, meaning it's the bread that goes stale instead. It's such a weird concept but works!

How To Check If Cakes Are Done - Most of the time you can tell just by looking at a cake if it's done or not, if it's not got much colour on the top then it needs longer in the oven. You can also check by inserting a skewer or cocktail stick into it, if it comes out clean then the cakes done but if it has some of the mixture on it then the middle isn't cooked. You can also check by gently pressing down on the middle of the cake, if it feels spongy then it's done!

Cooling Cakes and Buns - Now when I bake buns or muffins I always put them on a wire rack to cool, I didn't have one up until about a year ago and things used to take so long to cool meaning I had to wait longer to decorate them. Now I use my cooling rack all the time and it make things so much quicker. When it comes to cooling cakes, I put them on the rack upside down, this flattens the tops of them meaning if you want to layer them up it's much easier. 

Silicone Moulds - Months ago I bought a silicone baking set from Groupon, it included a few cake tins and muffin tins and they have been great to use rather than normal baking tins. It's so much easier to release the cakes from them and they're is no worry that the mixture will stick to them. I hate having to mess about with baking paper with normal cake tins so these have been great. Silicone moulds aren't too expensive either so are worth getting!

Use Exact Ingredients - This probably seems like quite an obvious one but sometimes I experiment with ingredients and it doesn't always go well. With my Salted Caramel Brownies, last time I used caster sugar instead of golden caster sugar, and even though they still tasted good, the texture was definitely different and not as good as the previous ones, it meant the caramel on top baked differently too so it just wasn't right. The same goes for my Chocolate Cake, if I use normal sugar rather than caster sugar, it just changes the texture completely. I always try to make sure I stick to the exact ingredients to get the best bake. 

Melt Chocolate Properly - I always melt chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. I can't imagine doing it any other way now it just melts so quickly, we don't have a microwave so I can't do it that way but in the past I've burnt chocolate like that. Also, I've tried just putting chocolate into a saucepan and melting it over the heat and it's just gone into one big clump. I always know it will go right if I melt over boiling water.

Have you tried any of these baking hacks before?

Some of my recipes - Millionaire's Shortbread // Peanut Butter Cookies // Chocolate Chip Flapjack

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

5 Films To Watch On A Bad Day...

You know those days where you just need a good laugh? or sometimes even a good cry? Well I have them a lot and on those days I like to get cosy with a good film and a load of chocolate. I have picked a few of my faves that really help me on a down day just in case you are needing something new to watch or something to have a good sob to!

1. How To Be Single - I could watch this film over and over and not get bored, it's a female led comedy and is laugh out loud funny. It's about 4 single women in New York, all at different stages in their life and it's a film not necessarily about finding somebody new but about finding themselves and all the hilarious things that happen on the way. If you like Rebel Wilson, you have to watch this, she's her usual funny self and it was great to see a more fun character from Dakota Johnson as I had only seen her in Fifty Shades. This would be a great one to watch on a Friday night with a glass of wine and chocolates after a tough week.
2. Paddington - This is one of my favourite films, it makes me cry every time but is so funny. It's about a bear from Peru who is on the hunt for a family in London after an earthquake destroys his family home, he settles with a family but a taxidermist wants him for herself to go in her museum. It sounds silly but it is a great film and I don't care if its aimed more at younger people, it is the best and is perfect to watch if you're not in a great mood. If you have kids it would also be a great one to watch with them on a rainy weekend.
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3. About Time - This film is actually a bit sad and it does make me cry but sometimes when your having a bad day you just need to have a good cry and let it all out. This film for me is just an all time favourite. The relationship between Tim and Mary is so beautiful and everything you could want, but I love that the film is also about Tim's relationship with his dad and the scenes between them make me so emotional. There are so many funny parts in the film too and the wedding scene is one of my favourites, it really is a lovely film and one that just makes you smile.
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4. This is 40 - I feel like this film is a glimpse into the future for me and George. We are such a stereotypical couple and I feel like this film just highlights all the annoying things that people do when your in a relationship! Leslie Mann makes this film, she is so good in every film she does, it's supposed to be the sort of sequel to Knocked Up but in my opinion is so much better!
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5. Bridesmaids - I don't think their are many comedies better than Bridesmaids. It just doesn't get old and is always just as funny as the first time. This is the film me and George saw on our first date and if you've seen it you know the first scene, and it was a little bit awkward to watch on a first date but it's so funny to look back on it and watch it together now. My favourite character in it is Megan played by Melissa McCarthy, her lines make me laugh every single time. It's a perfect film to watch when you need cheering up.
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Have you seen any of these? What's your favourite film to watch on a bad day?

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

How I Self Care & Why It's Important...

We all do some form of self care each day, just getting up and getting dressed, eating and washing but I don't think enough people take enough time to just do what they want to do and properly look after themselves. Having a self care day can mean different things, it could be not doing any of the little, annoying jobs, it could be spending the day watching Netflix, or it could be spending the day shopping with a friend. It doesn't matter what it is but is's so important you have this time.
I think nowadays a lot of people struggle to just stop for a while and have some time out for themselves. You might think it looks selfish or you might think you don't deserve to treat yourself but everyone needs a break sometimes and we don't all have to strive to be perfect in everything we do, we don't all have to have it together. I love having a day to myself to just do what I want and really take care of myself, but I always feel guilty for it, and I won't be the only one. Sometimes I'll feel bad for not doing little jobs like hoovering the living room, or doing another lot of washing and it's so silly. Everyone needs time out to recharge and little jobs like that can wait, it isn't the end of the world. 

Different things work for different people but for me it's a combination of various things which really help me recharge and set me up for the next day. 

Reading is something I definitely don't do enough so if I am feeling particularly down or in need of some time out, there is nothing better for me than reading. I love that you can just lose yourself in a book, your mind is completely focused on the characters and the story and there is no space for your own worries. The last book that really got me was Me Before You, I just lost myself in it and found myself reading it for hours at a time. 

Resting is so important even if you don't particularly feel like you've done much to warrant it, just take 10 minutes to lay down and do nothing and just switch off, stay off social media and rest. I find this is something that helps me with my anxiety, I literally lie on the bed and do nothing and it helps me calm down and collect my thoughts and try to see things in a more positive light. Sleep helps with so many things so if you want a nap, have one! 

I love cooking and creating new things so if I am taking a day for myself, I'll try and make something I haven't made before or i'll make something that is a favourite of mine. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself and there isn't anything much better than a cup of tea and cake. 

Music helps me through a lot. I listen to music everyday, it helps me when I'm blogging and really motivates me but it also really relaxes me on days where I just want to sit and do nothing. There are loads of calming playlists on Spotify that are great for self care days or you could create a playlist of some old favourites to sing along too. 

I don't do it enough but I love exploring new places and going on walks. Last summer we found a park near our flat and had a full afternoon out exploring and it was so lovely, and it's somewhere i'll definitely go again for a long walk when I want some time out, fresh air really helps clear my mind. 

Those are 5 things I like to do on a self care day which could be quite similar to things you like to do or could be completely different. Everyone has different things which help them but I hope it's inspired you a little bit to take some time out every so often as everyone deserves it.

Similar Posts - 5 Things I Like About Myself // Turning A Bad Day Into A Good Day

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Monday, 23 January 2017

We're Going To London Again!

If you regularly read my posts it probably seems like I don't even go a few weeks without talking about London and to be honest since November I haven't really. I've mentioned it quite a few times and I didn't think I'd be talking about it again already and that we'd be going again already but we've been really lucky and have managed to book a short trip there for this weekend!
It's not something we would have just been able to afford to book as quickly as we did usually and whenever we've been before we've had to do quite a bit of saving for it. The reason we're going is because we've had a bit of money come in and I don't really want to go into detail about it as it's not exactly come from a good situation but I knew I wanted to do something special with it and for me, London has become like a second home in a way and I could go every month and still get excited. We're only going for one night and it's sort of a joint birthday trip for us too. We're going the day after Georges birthday and as he's booked a few days off around it we get a nice, long weekend together which I can't wait for. 

We're going on the 28th and we haven't planned too much for the day as we're actually going to see Wicked again that night so the day will just be quite chilled. As we've been a few times now we've kind of done a lot of the bigger things and there's nothing major we want to do again this time, it's only been a few months since our last trip. We're just going to spend some time exploring around Piccadilly and Leicester Square I think as we don't usually spend too much time around that area.

As I just mentioned it I should probably talk about the fact we're going to see Wicked again already! If you read my Wicked Review you'll know that we just absolutely loved it and honestly as soon as we left we knew we wanted to see it again one day. Rachel Tucker was just absolutely insane and I mentioned in my review that I would love to see her again in that role before she leaves. Her last show is on the 28th January and that's the one we have managed to get tickets for and I am so happy about it. It's cost a bomb to be honest but it's for our birthdays, it's her last show, it's in our favourite place and so I think it's worth it. We wanted to do something special and this is what we've decided on and I honestly can't wait. When I wrote my review I honestly never thought we would actually be able to go again any time soon and I thought if we ever got to see Wicked again it would be in a few years, definitely not before Rachel leaves so I'm just feeling very lucky at the moment. 

Expect to see a post about it all next week!

Did you see my London posts last year? A Weekend Away To London (March) // 2 Nights in London (November)

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Salt and Pepper Chicken Fakeaway Recipe...

We are big fans of a Chinese takeaway but as I have said before, it's expensive and to be honest I think home made is always better. I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try and for a while I had been seeing recipes for salt and pepper chicken and people doing a 'Chinese Fakeaway'. Salt and Pepper chicken is something we have when we get a Chinese and I had no idea what my own would taste like but I gave it a go and you know what it was great!
Ingredients:
250g chicken, cut into chunks
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp soy sauce
Around 5 or 6 tbsp of smash, enough to cover a small plate, you may need to add more at some point depending how big the chicken chunks are
2 handfuls of frozen peppers or 1 pepper sliced
2 handfuls of frozen red onion or 1 sliced
1 tsp chilli powder

Method:
1. Pre - heat oven to 200 degrees and spray a baking tray with fry light
2. Cut your chicken into chunks and then in a bowl beat one egg then add 1 tbsp of soy sauce
3. On a small plate, add the smash 
4. Add the chicken to the egg mix then cover in smash, place on baking tray. Repeat until all chicken chunks are coated
5. Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes
6. While the chicken is cooking, soften onions and peppers in a small pan with frylight. When soft, add 1 tsp of chilli powder
7. If you want to serve yours with Egg Fried Rice like we did, prepare your rice as normal then scramble eggs in a seperate pan, when both are cooked, mix together in a pan and add a glug of soy sauce. You can also add peas but we didn't have any. You could also use noodles if you don't want rice with it
8. To serve, add your egg fried rice to a bowl then top with onions and peppers. You can now top with your cooked chicken!

That's it! This works out so much cheaper than a takeaway and it tastes delicious. It's a perfect meal for a Friday night when you just want something tasty that doesn't require too much effort!


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Thursday, 19 January 2017

3 Films You Have To Watch...

I just love films and over the last few months I've watched some brilliant ones that I had to talk about. 2 of them I'd never seen before and 1 is a film that no matter how many times you watch it just makes you feel all sorts of emotions.

The Ones Below - This had to be first one I mentioned. It's a really creepy, weird film but one that keeps you in suspense all the way through. Two couples are expecting their first child and at first it seems like everything is normal, eventually the couple upstairs start to notice some strange things about the couple downstairs and over time it becomes clear they have some unnerving and sinister intentions. Throughout the film some strange things go on but you are always kept wondering about what is going to happen next and how it will end, it's not one you can tell straight away how it's going to go. It was on my mind for ages after watching it! If you watched The Missing on BBC you'll recognise David Morrissey in this, his characters is very, very creepy!
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Her - This is such an interesting film and one I re-watched a few months ago, it's set in the future and I suppose is a look at what could possibly happen one day in some way. It stars Joaquin Phoenix who plays Theodore, a heartbroken man coping with the breakup of his marriage, he starts interacting with a new operating system, played by Scarlett Johansson, and over time he starts to fall for her. It is a strange concept and definitely an odd story but so worth watching. It makes you feel all the emotions, it was just as good watching it the second time round, definite 5 out of 5. 
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The Shallows - This is basically a modern jaws film and one I wasn't that bothered about seeing at the cinema, but after finding it online a few months ago I had to recommend it. Blake Lively plays Nancy who is into surfing and has found herself in an area where there are great white sharks, and obviously you know it's not going to be a nice trip to the beach. She is stranded on a rock in the sea and has to try and survive and find her way back to shore. You might think this is one that has an obvious ending but it does keep you guessing and you don't really know which way it's going to go and I felt tense throughout.
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Have you watched any of these films, if you have what did you think?


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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

My First Bath & Body Works Candle...

A few months ago I entered a giveaway and ended up winning a few Bath & Body Works goodies. I literally never win anything so I was so happy, and everyone always raves about Bath & Body Works so I was really excited to see what their stuff was like. I won a candle in the scent Leaves and a mini hand sanitizer in the scent Coconut Pumpkin Latte, both very autumnal and probably something I would pick myself! 
I'm a complete candle addict, especially in the run up to Autumn and Winter so this candle really was a great addition to my collection. I chose to have it in the bedroom on the windowsill and honestly I have been so impressed with it and I absolutely love it. It's supposed to have hints of crisp red apple, golden nectar and warm clove spice. It has a really woody scent to it which is I suppose what you'd expect with it being called Leaves, but you can really tell there's a sweetness in it which comes from the red apple. I've noticed that this doesn't even really need to burn for that long to give off an amazing scent. We sometimes burn it at night if we're watching something along with my dupe, brown sugar allspice, but this is the one that really gives off a scent compared to the other one. I can also smell it from another room if i've lit it in the bedroom while I go to do other things, so it really fills the whole flat. It just looks so pretty too, I think it fits so well in the bedroom and goes with everything else we have. This candle is supposed to burn for 25-45 hours and so far we're not even nearly finished with it. It's also burning evenly aswell as it's a 3 wick candle. 

I don't think I would ever spend over £20 on a candle but if I was to buy anything in the future from Bath and Body Works, this would be the one so far. I love everything about it and I think I'll be quite sad when I have to replace it!

Have you ever tried anything from Bath & Body Works? Or have you tried the dupes?


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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

How To Save Money On Your Food Shopping...

Recently we've been trying to save some money and cut back and the main area we knew we spent too much on was food! So here are a few of my tips for saving money on your food shop that we've been trying over the last few months.
Tinned Food - We always go for the value version of things like chopped tomatoes and kidney beans, because to me they all taste the same, they're both around 30p each from most supermarkets. I use chopped tomatoes to make all sorts of sauces and I always have things like kidney beans in, in case we want to make a chilli and they're great to bulk up a meal. When it comes to baked beans we have started getting Aldi's, they are £1 for a pack of four and taste exactly like Branston beans.We go through them quite quickly and that's one thing we're usually get fussy about but Aldi's are honestly just as good. Another thing I've started buying recently is tinned potatoes. There have been so many times when we've bought a pack of new potatoes and then we change what we want so they just get thrown away. I'm sick of wasting them so I've been buying tinned potatoes instead. They're great to throw into a curry, it's really bulks it out and you can get a few more meals out of it then rather than just one nights. They're great done in the oven too in a load of herbs and salt and pepper! In Aldi I'm sure they're only 15p for a big tin which is brilliant!

Leftovers and Portion Control - We really needed to get the size of our portions under control, we were always making too much pasta or rice so now we try to make sure we're weighing things before cooking. We try to do 75g of pasta each which doesn't look like much but is actually really filling, and none of it gets wasted. It means we're not always having to buy pasta aswell as there's always plenty left in the pack for more meals. For Rice we use Aldi Boil In The Bag Rice, 1 bag serves 2 and it's the perfect amount, and I love rice but even for me it's enough! For a pack of 4 it's only 59p which is an absolute bargain! We also really make an effort now to save any leftovers, if I make something like chilli there will be enough left for two more meals, so George sometimes takes a portion to work and I'll have some for lunch.

Freezing Food - We don't have a microwave so we don't actually freeze our leftovers but we used to when we were in our flat in Leicester and it was always great to pick something out the freezer and re-heat it on nights we didn't want to cook. Normally we just leave leftovers in the fridge for the next day but we really would save a lot of money and time on nights we can't be bothered if we had frozen a few meals. I really recommend if you can, if you make something like Chilli or Bolognese, leave some spare and freeze in a Tupperware. Something else I have started doing recently is freezing fruit that is about to go out of date or hasn't been eaten. We have frozen fruit in anyway most of the time for smoothies and it's great to grab out the freezer to top porridge or cereal, usually works out a lot cheaper than buying fresh fruit that goes off so quickly aswell.

Plan Simple Meals and Use Up What You Have - Most of the time I end up spending quite a lot of money on meat for the week, but recently I've been making more of an effort to use up what we have first before ordering more. I also see what packets and tins we have, e.g. spaghetti, rice, tinned potatoes etc. so I try to plan meals around those things rather than getting extra things when we already have other stuff in that I could do something with. If we have a lot of bacon, I'll plan to do something simple using that, 1 thing which we love is just pasta and bacon made with a tomato sauce. I warm up a tin of chopped tomatoes, add in some beef stock, herbs, seasoning and let it simmer to thicken a little bit then stir in cooked pasta and bacon and it's lovely! So easy to make and cheap ingredients. We also like pesto pasta, that's another simple meal and cheap. We get jars from Aldi for less than £1 and it's great for a meal one night and then extra for lunches in the week. We also like doing breakfast for tea occasionally, eggs are cheap, we always have beans and bread in, bacon is usually always in our fridge so we make a slimming world friendly fry up.

These were just a few of the ways we've been cutting our food bill down, recently our main shop has only been £30 (we budget £50 a week) and then with a few extra bits throughout the week and treats at the weekend it's ended up about £40 so we've been making a saving of at least £10 a week which for us is great! They all seem like pretty simple tips and you might already be doing some of these but I hope for a few people it's given you a few ideas on how to save some money.

Do you have any tips for saving money?

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Monday, 16 January 2017

How To Stay Organised...

I have had this post sitting ready to go for ages, and then last night I decided to completely re-write it and take brand new pictures. I just had the urge to start again. Anyway, hopefully all of that will have been worth it and you get some useful tips from this post. I wanted to write about organisation and what I do to try and stay on top of things because I find posts like this really help me.
Make A List - This is something that really, really helps me, it helped in college and university, it helped me at work and it helps me at home. I don't like everything all muddled together so I try to separate everything I have to do into 2 categories, work and home. I just use a basic list notebook and I try to think of everything that needs doing and then throughout the day i'll go through and tick off whatever I've done. It's a really good feeling when you look back and see how much you've done and you can feel really proud of how much you did on a day where maybe you didn't want to do much at all!

Get The Boring Things Out Of The Way - When making a list, I try to put things at the top that I know I won't want to do so I don't have to dwell on them all day and I can just get them out of the way. That could be something that needs doing at home or if there's emails I have to respond to, whatever it is I don't want to still see it on my list at 4pm. 

Diaries - I love having a diary. This can be separate to your list of jobs to do, but can be good for you to make note of any people you need to see, any places you need to go, things you need to buy, and for me, which blog post I need to publish each day. A simple diary really helps plan your week. I love my 2017 diary and this year I'm making a real effort to use it and keep on track with filling it in.
Tidy - I am someone who really struggles to get stuff done if things are messy. Whether that's at work and the desk is a mess or if I'm at home and the kitchen needs cleaning. Just the smallest things stress me out and I can't even relax at night if I know I've left things out that need sorting the next day, for me it really is tidy space, tidy mind. If I am going to dedicate a few hours to blogging, I like to be able to go straight into the room and start rather than having to do the pots, hoover, sort the rubbish first, so these are things I always try to keep on top of. 

Don't Be Hard On Yourself - Sometimes I really push myself to get loads done and other days I really don't want to do anything, and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. I think everyone puts so much pressure on themselves to be perfect and for me I like to get as much done as I can, I want to impress but it isn't always about that, some days I struggle to even get out of bed so anything I do on days like that is a bonus.
L-R - List notebook, Notebook for bills, Diet Notebook for tracking my Slimming World progress! A few extra books I use to help stay organised.
So, those were my tips on staying organised. They might not help anyone or they might help a few of you but at least I can look back on this and remind myself of what I need to do if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with work and home things. 

What do you do to stay organised?

Did you see my last post? 2017 Blogging Goals!
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Friday, 13 January 2017

2017 Blogging Goals...

So it's time for my 2017 Blogging Goals! I'm really excited to be doing this post as I didn't do anything like it last year and I know it's really going to help me stay on track with blogging. I want to look back next year and have achieved all of these things! 

  • Commit to blogging 5 times a week - This is something I've wanted to do for a while but while I was working it just wasn't possible and to be honest I completely neglected my blog. Now I've got more time on my hands I've set myself the challenge for 2017 to blog 5 times a week and so far it's going well! I have so many ideas and I want to get them all out so at the moment I'm not struggling for posts. Fingers crossed I can keep up with it.
  • Take part in more Twitter chats - I take part in quite a lot of comment storms and things like that each week but I definitely don't take part in enough chats and interact with bloggers enough. I get quite shy about it and worry I just don't fit in with everyone else but I need to put those thoughts aside and really make more of an effort to take part in them. I made a list in my new diary just after Christmas of all the chats and when they start so I'm hoping that will help me as there are just so many I lose track of when they are on!
  • 1000 Twitter Followers - I really want to grow my Twitter following this year. I don't think I'm doing too bad, I hit 600 a few days ago but that is nothing compared to some bloggers so I know this is something I really need to work on. My goal is 1000 for this year and I'd be very happy with that as that is still a lot of people! I am secretly hoping for a bit more though so we'll see. 
  • 500 Instagram Followers - Instagram at the moment is just a nightmare, not just for me, for so many bloggers. As soon as you get a new follower, about 10 unfollow so it's a constant battle and so my actual number of followers never really changes. At the moment I'm at around 420 so I'm starting small for this and just hoping to make it to 500 this year. Again, I would secretly love more but with it the way it is at the moment I don't want to aim too high. Anything more would be a bonus. 
  • Write More Personal Posts - I used to be quite scared about opening up on my blog and letting more of myself out in my posts but now I really just don't care and if there is something I want to talk about, I just do. I was quite honest about my anxiety in 2016, aswell as my reasons for my leaving my job and also reasons why I don't really like birthdays and all of those posts got a really good response from people. I find it's my most personal posts that people engage with the most. Those are the things I like to read from other people too so I definitely want to carry on with those sorts of posts in 2017.
  • Improve my photography - I do think my photography has got better since I first started blogging but it's nothing compared to some and a lot of the time I never feel my photos are good enough. Recentely I saw people on Twitter comparing their old blog photos to most recent and it put me to shame. Mine are awful compared to the ones I saw and it made me realise that mine aren't too different to what they were almost 3 years ago! I don't really know where to start but I definitely need to improve blog photography in 2017.

  • I'm going to work so hard to achieve all of these. I love blogging so much and I would love to really make something of this one day so I need to do everything I can to make that happen. Some of my goals are quite small so if I achieve anything extra with some of them, then that's amazing but for now I don't want to get my hopes up too much and then be let down in a years time! Anyway, have you set yourself any blogging goals? I would love to read them. 

    Did you see my personal 2017 goals?

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    Thursday, 12 January 2017

    Easy Millionaire's Shortbread Recipe...

    Today I'm going to be sharing with you a recipe for Easy Millionaire's Shortbread! I say easy.. it does take a big of time and effort but the ingredients are all quite basic and you'll probably already have a lot of them in your cupboards. I made this a few months ago now and it was something I had always wanted to attempt but just never thought to do it. I gave it a go and it actually tasted delicious, so  I wanted to share the recipe with you. I'll be honest I didn't get the best pictures of it and it definitely doesn't look pretty but really all that matters is the taste.
    Ingredients: Shortbread
    185g butter
    75g caster sugar
    250 plain flour

    Ingredients: Caramel 
    397g tin of condensed milk
    100g butter
    100g light brown sugar
    2 tbsp golden syrup

    Extra:
    100g milk chocolate
     100g dark chocolate

    Method:
    1. Pre - heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a square baking tin with baking paper
    2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until soft and smooth
    3. Sift in flour then stir, I eventually ended up using my hands to form it into a dough
    4. Tip your dough into your baking tin and flatten down, bake for 20 - 25 minutes
    5. Leave to cool in the tin while you prepare the caramel
    6. In a saucepan, add the condensed milk, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup and keep it on a low heat until everything is combined and a sticky mixture. I ended up keeping it simmering for 10 minutes, always stirring until it was a thick caramel
    7. Pour over the shortbread and leave to set in the fridge
    8. When the caramel has set, melt both bars of chocolate in a bowl over a pan over boiling water and pour on top, leave to set again in the fridge
    When it's set you can cut into squares and enjoy!

    I think this is one I'll get better with over time in terms of presentation but for a first attempt I was really happy! Let me know if you give this recipe a go.

    Other Baking Recipes - Simple Chocolate Cake // Raspberry & Vanilla Cupcakes // School Sponge Cake

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    Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    2017 Goals...

    I really want 2017 to be my year. Last year to be honest wasn't brilliant and there were times I thought, seriously how much is one person supposed to take? and even though there are times I feel scared about this year and what might happen, I also feel quite positive and ready to go for it, in lots of different things. I thought I would get some of my more personal goals put down on here and hopefully next year I can come back and do another post reflecting on them and hopefully I'll be able to see that I've achieved them all, or at least given them a good shot! I was originally going to talk about my blogging goals on this post too but there are too many so I'm going do another post on those this Friday!
    • Find part time work - I do want to think about getting back into work at some point over the next few months. I'm not sure what sort of area I would be looking to work in, I'm really interested in working in a school and maybe trying to aim towards being a teaching assistant. I've got relevant qualifications and experience so that's a possibility but if not I'll probably just stick with admin jobs for now as that's what I've done most recently and I was really good at it. I'm going to spend some time really thinking about it though soon before I decide anything.
    • Stick to Slimming World - I mentioned Slimming World a few times last year and I post a lot of recipes which are great for people following the plan, but towards the end of 2016 I just sort of lost any willpower and I didn't really even enjoy cooking anymore. But now it's new year and I am on it! I lost 3lbs my first weigh in after Christmas, had a few days off for my birthday but I was straight back on it on Monday and I am so committed this time. I don't have a set target weight yet but I'm so determined to carry on with it this year and feel so much happier and comfortable in my own skin.
    • Stress Less - I'm such an over-thinker and I stress about everything so in 2017 I really want to try to relax a bit more. I stress about things that really don't matter and things can stay on my mind for days and days just eating away at me, I drive myself mad with it so I'm going to make a real effort to try and deal with things in a better way and find new ways of coping with anything that is making me feel that way.
    • Treat Others How They Treat Me - To be honest I am sick of giving so much of myself to others and getting absolutely nothing in return so this year that is changing and I'm going to treat others how they treat me. If they make an effort, I will too but if they don't then I'll quite happily leave them too it. There are too many people that I try and try with and it's never returned so I'm done with it now. I need to focus on myself more this year, not bending over backwards for others that clearly couldn't care less. 
    • Read More - I really think this will help me de-stress. I used to love reading and I do go through phases where I can't put a book down and others where I don't pick one up for about 6 months. I got Reasons To Stay Alive for my birthday and I can't wait to get stuck into it. I have a few other books I'm still yet to read so this year I want to dedicate more time to it. I love getting lost in a whole other world. 
    • Get A Hold Of My Anxiety - My anxiety can be all over the place sometimes. I go through really bad phases where I just don't want to do anything and other times I feel amazing so this year I just want to get a better hold of it and control it in the times I feel it getting bad again. I need to look at the things causing my anxiety and find ways to overcome it because I don't want it to stop me doing things anymore.
    I think these are the main things I want to work on this year and hopefully I can achieve them all! I'm going to give them all a really good try anyway, I'm really hoping 2017 will be an amazing year!

    I'm going to do a follow up post to this next year to reflect and see what I managed to do in 2017 so let's hope I have something good to say about all of them!

    Have you set yourself any goals?

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    Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    My 22nd Birthday...

    I turned 22 on Saturday and well lets just say the day was a mixture of emotions! There were times I was so happy and having a lovely time and other times I just felt so low and so sad. If you read this post you will know why I wasn't particuarly looking forward to my birthday but I was still trying to be optimistic and be positive. I'll be honest I started the day off crying in bed. I think because I had been so anxious about the day, the fact it had finally arrived and I was another year older, just hit me. I also was so sad that some of the things I expected to happen did. That morning I was a mixture of angry and upset about a few things but there was nothing I could do. I also felt like some people just didn't care and that's never a nice feeling. I actually hate I've started this post of like this because I really don't want people to just think I'm a moany bitch and I want sympathy, I'm just being totally honest about it all and that's genuinely how my day started.

    I knew George and his brothers were waiting in the room for me and they were all so excited and happy and I didn't want to put a downer on it so I pulled myself together, opened my lovely presents and we all ate some cake. I went for a giant mini roll as my birthday cake this year, probably not worth £6 but you know it was good, just not as good as a chocolate traybake! I loved all of my birthday presents and George had actually managed to get a few from my wishlist which I wasn't expecting! I was so happy to open Reasons To Stay Alive, I've read a few pages and I already know I'm going to love it. I also love the Calm To Go by This Works. This is going to be perfect for when we're out if I'm feeling a bit anxious. I can just keep it in it's little case in my pocket so it's there whenever I need it. Food always makes me happy and Pop Tarts are just my fave. George got me chocolate ones for christmas and the strawberry ones for my birthday, I mentioned in my christmas post it's a bit of a jokey tradition for us to get each other them each year! Prosecco is always a good idea and as I didn't get chance to have it on my actual birthday I'm going to save it for Saturday night and enjoy it then. Turkish delight is something I very rarely have but I love the traditional one so I can't wait to have some of this. The toblerone was wrapped up from the boys and it's some of my favourite chocolate so I'll be honest this is almost all gone! The last thing I opened was the London Erasers from Paperchase. This sounds stupid but this present actually made me a bit emotional, not like I'd not already cried enough that morning! Anything London related makes me want to cry and I just thought these were such a thoughful present. I hadn't seen them on the website or anything so I literally had no idea. Might only be a bit of stationary but to me it meant a lot and I can't wait for them to be on display in our office (which we will complete one day).
    After opening presents we got ready to go for a meal and we decided on Pizza Hut weeks ago so I had been looking forward to it for ages. I just love pizza. We got quite a lot of food and it was all just incredible. The cookie dough there is just amazing, Me and George shared a Raspberry and White Chocolate one and I just want to eat it again now.
    After that we just went to a few shops and because I'm just a big kid, I bought myself a Trolls Calendar. I just love Trolls okay! We all picked up a few other bits too and got some more snacks and food for that night. When we were back we all watched Ouija Origin Of Evil which was so creepy. We all screamed a few times! I don't know why we do it to ourselves but we always watch at least one horror film we're all together.
    Even though the morning started off a bit rocky, it did end up been a really nice day and I'm so happy those three were there. I'd have probably just stayed in bed otherwise. They all cheered me up so much.

    Did you see yesterdays post? - Food I Have Been Loving This Week #8

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    Monday, 9 January 2017

    Food I Have Been Loving This Week #8

    I really love doing these posts but yet again I've left it a while! I've been trying some new things over the last few weeks so I wanted to include them and also a few old favourites that just taste incredible. 
    Ben and Jerrys Empower Mint - This is basically just 2 of my favourite things together and I can't get enough of it. I love anything mint flavoured and brownies are basically one of my 5 a day so put them together with ice cream, you have something amazing. I finally found this in Iceland on offer for £2.50 and I already can't wait to buy more. Seriously if you haven't tried this yet, you have too. Ben and Jerrys have actually got loads of new flavours in supermarkets at the moment so there are even more to choose from than usual!

    Oxo Roast Potatoes - I love Roast Potatoes, there is nothing better with a Sunday roast, but they can be quite unhealthy depending on how you make them so I've been following a Slimming World recipe using Beef oxo cubes (you can use chicken stock cubes instead) and they taste beautiful. All you need to do is peel 2 baking potatoes and boil for about 10 minutes. Drain then tip into a dish. Add 250ml of stock, try to just pour it around the potatoes, rather than over, up about half way and spray the tops of the potatoes with frylight. Put in a 220 degree oven for around 50 - 60 minutes until all the stock has evaporated. The potatoes are usually quite soft rather than crispy but they taste gooooood.

    Fajita Beans - I know I've mentioned these before in one of these posts but they disappeared and I found them recently in B&M so I have been having them quite a lot and loving them. They're very low syn on Slimming World so they've been great to have with a jacket potato for lunch and things like that.

    Halloumi - I have been loving having this as part of a Slimming World friendly fry up. I've really been enjoying finding new meals for breakfast and a few weeks ago I had bacon, fajita beans, egg, Halloumi and toast and it was delicious. I just love Halloumi, fried on each side for a few minutes so it goes crispy on the outside but the inside is chewy. I can't believe I only tried it for the first time a few months ago. I also did some of it a few weeks ago to go with a Nandos style tea. I made some spicy chicken to go with pittas and rice with garlic bread and Halloumi on the side. As if I didn't love cheese enough anyway, I now want this all the time.

    Apple Crumble Baked Oats - Baked Oats are so filling and keep me full for hours but sometimes it can get a bit boring, so I was really excited to try a version that people had said basically tasted like Apple Crumble. I was a bit sceptical at first about how similar it would be but honestly it was like I was eating a hot dessert with custard when I had this. I made them using 40g of oats, 1 grated apple, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of sweetener and about 80ml of milk, I actually prepared them the previous night so I mixed it all up and left in a bowl ready to go straight into a dish and into the oven the next morning. I baked them for about 30 minutes and had them with an Apple Crumble Muller Light. It was a perfect breakfast for a cold morning.

    Aldi Christmas Lollies - I am officially obsessed with these. They are reduced in Aldi at the moment for about 59p and I've stocked up as I have been loving these over the last few weeks. The chocolate is honestly gorgeous.

    Have you tried any of these?

    Did you see my last post? December Favourites - The Hunger Games, Elf & Christmas Food!

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    Friday, 6 January 2017

    December Favourites - The Hunger Games, Elf & Christmas Food!

    Today I have my December Favourites for you, how insane is it that we're now in 2017?! I can't quite believe how fast 2016 went and that it's now over. Anyway, most of my December Favourites are Christmas and film related but I've tried to add a few other bits in just to mix it up a bit.
    Hunger Games Image.
    The Hunger Games - I put off watching the Hunger Games trilogy for so long! I don't know why but it never really appealed to me but a few weeks ago as there was nothing on TV, we watched the first one and as it was actually amazing, we ended up watching the 3 other films in the same week! It was so different to what I expected and I thoroughly enjoyed each one. After the first one we just wanted to stay up and watch the second and after the second we felt exactly the same about watching the last two. We're gonna have to get them on DVD as they were brilliant and so much better than I expected, I'm so annoyed I left it so long to give in and watch them! I think the second film Catching Fire was my favourite of them all.

    Christmas Decorations - We put up our Christmas Decorations the last weekend of November which some probably think is quite early but as we had Georges brothers stopping at the beginning of December we wanted to get them all sorted and the flat be really Christmassy for when they arrived. I loved making the flat really cosy and having the tree lights on every night. We picked up a few little bits when we were in Manchester so it was nice having some new decorations, we had our Christmas Countdown which George changed every morning without fail, and of course we had lots of Christmassy candles burning throughout the month.

    Roku Stick - This is a bit of an odd one but on Black Friday we picked up a Roku stick from Currys as it was on a really good deal and George had been wanting something like this for ages. It's basically a USB you connect to your TV and it means you can get things like Youtube, Netflix and Catch Up (iPlayer, ITV, 40D etc) wherever you are. We have the XBOX One and Sky in the living room so we're sorted in there but in the bedroom we only had Freeview and shocking signal so we could hardly get any channels so this has been amazing. It means now we can catch up on TV in the bedroom and as I'm struggling with sleep at the moment I can catch up on loads of Youtube when George is fast asleep! I was never really convinced before and I thought it was just an unnecessary thing to buy but it is really great and I'm so glad we have it now. 

    Shortbread - There is something about shortbread that just screams christmas to me! We picked a few different biscuit selections up in the run up to christmas and at the beginning of December we tried a shortbread selection from Aldi, it was beautiful so I had to mention it. I think it was £1.99 and it included shortbread fingers, rounds and petticoat tails and it was honestly some of the best I've ever tasted.

    Elf - I always look forward to watching this at Christmas, it just never gets old does it? It's always just as funny as the first time and I never get bored of it. To say how long the film has been out and how much we love it, we actually didn't get it on DVD til December, it was a lot harder to find than you'd expect! But now we have it and I can't wait to watch it again next Christmas!

    Christmas Food - I know I mentioned Shortbread above but I had to mention just all the Christmas food! We stocked up on so many things this year, we had a massive bag full of chocolate tubs and boxes, crisps, biscuit selections and crackers, just all sorts of stuff, aswell as drinks too, there is only two of us but we go all out! I started buying early so we got the Turkey in plenty of time and then over the last food shops in the run up I got everything else and we had a feast of a Christmas Dinner. All the pigs in blankets which are my absolute favourite and huge yorkshire puddings!

    Arthur Christmas - This is one of those films I had seen people go on about and even though I always wanted to watch it we didn't get round to it until the weekend before Christmas. I really wish we had watched it sooner as it was such a lovely film. If you haven't seen it before, it's about Santa's son Arthur who goes on a mission to deliver a present they had misplaced earlier than night, to a little girl. It made me feel so chrismassy and it has definitely become one of my new favourite Christmas films, I can't wait to watch it again.

    Want to read more about our Chrismas? You might like to read - Christmas 2016...

    Last Months Favourites - The Missing, New Shoes & Hot Chocolate!

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    Thursday, 5 January 2017

    Birthday Wishlist 2017...

    As my birthday is literally in 2 days I'm not expecting much, if anything from this wishlist, I just really wanted to do one as I have before and I really enjoy putting them together. As George's birthday is also this month, we have done what we did at Christmas and have given each other a spending limit. We love buying each other things but really didn't want to spend too much as we're going away for the night at the end of the month, so this is just done a little wishlist of a few things I would love.
    • I love This Works products and as Boots had some great offers on their products on Boxing day I picked a few things up and George has put one of them away for my birthday! So I suppose I do know I'm getting something of theirs but I still had to include it. I just love all their products.
    • I've seen a few people mention Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig and it's seems like an amazing book. It's about ways to live better and feel more alive and the story of how Matt overcame crisis and learned to live again. I've heard this is particularly great for people who have suffered with Anxiety and Depression and some say it has literally saved their lives and as I know just how hard anxiety can be sometimes, I really feel like I need this.
    • I absolutely loved Suicide Squad and as soon as we saw it in the cinema I wanted to see it again so I would really like this on DVD. Sticking with DVD's, another one I just love is Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. I laughed all the way through this, I thought it was hilarious and I know it's a film I could watch over and over. 
    • Prosecco might seem like a bit of an odd one but I love the mini bottles from Aldi and even though I do get them every so often, I just really want to chill on my birthday with a nice glass of it after some good food. 
    • I really want to get some sort of office done in the spare room soon so I can properly have a space to blog and take photos. Of course if I get an office, I'm gonna need lots of stationary! I'm just a sucker for cute things from Paperchase and I love that they do little things like the bear eraser and bear highlighters for quite low prices. If you couldn't tell I love bears so you know anything bear related is a winner. Notebooks are also an essential for bloggers, I like to keep track of blog posts I still need to write, what days they're being published and other things like that so I really love little presents like that where I can keep all my ideas. 
    That's about all I can think I would want for my birthday, obviously I'm really not expecting all of this and I'm honestly fine with just cake and a card but it's just nice to do these posts!


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