My Thursday: Blossom Walks, Perfect Scrambled Eggs and Violet Gin

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I feel like I haven’t done a photo diary in ages; sometimes it’s nice to throw things back to blogging back in the day – you know, when it was all a bit more low key and just about the things you did on a random day of the week.  I did want to put an Easter-inspired recipe up today buuuuuut I’ve been a bit busy and came up empty.  So here we are!  This is what my Thursday looked like.

Most days right now begin at 6am when Bungle stomps into our bedroom and barks until one of us either budges over or gets up.  He loves our bed at the moment; he’ll disappear at random times during the day and we’ll find him sprawled out snoozing in the middle of it!  Sunny usually gets up first so Bungle will usually hop in with me for a bit while I scroll through Twitter and Instagram and put off getting up myself. 😉

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Once Sunny leaves for work, I pull on a pair of yoga pants and a hoodie and take Bungle for his morning walk around the block.  You’d think him having the snip a couple of weeks ago would have calmed him down a bit, but honestly he’s even more excitable than before.  He still drags me along and only stops to mercilessly hump my leg.  Buuuuuut, at least on Thursday the weather was nice; we walked around the block and had a sniff around the bluebells and the blossom.

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After his walk, Bungle went back to bed (…alright for some) and I made myself some breakfast.  I’ve been trying to perfect some egg recipes recently and high up on my list was scrambled egg.  I mean, usually I just crack a couple of eggs into a saucepan with some milk and butter and stir until they’re solid, but I wanted to see if I could go one better and make those super creamy, special scrambled eggs.  On Thursday, I think I cracked it (har de har).

Most of my morning was spent ticking off jobs on my to do list, planning a couple of blog posts and answering emails, and then after taking Bungle for another trot around the block I had a quick lunch and then headed into Cardiff.  But it turned out taking me an hour longer than usual because the traffic was a nightmare!

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Had a quick prowl around the shops.  There’s not really a lot I need in terms of Spring/Summer clothes, but I love looking anyway!  I’m still in lust with this pink polka dot shirt from Zara… but I’ve got a lot of shirts (and a lot of polka dots…).  I’m determined to wait it out and see if lust turns into love.

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At Gin o’ Clock I met up with Lottie from This Girl Is.  We went to Gin and Juice in Castle Arcade which serves up a massive selection of gin (and smoothies) in the most beautiful way.  We chatted about blogging and our beautiful but bonkers doggos.

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Once I got home, Sunny took Bungle for his evening walk and I made dinner.  I’ve really been enjoying making these Burrito Bowls recently.  It started as a solution to those times when “ugh, can’t be arsed to make Quesadillas” – but actually, I prefer it!  And not just because it’s easier.  Last night I served them up with a cheeky side of Nachos – which went down very well! 🙂

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After dinner I started reading my new history book all about the women in Mozart’s life and then Sunny and I broke into some Easter Chocolate in front of Into the Badlands – which is quite possibly the most ridiculous show I’ve ever seen.  Steampunk meets Kung Fu… with Nick Frost.  I mean, what the actual hell?

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Enjoy the long weekend! 🙂

Let’s Stop Self-Defecating (…yes, you read that right)

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Happy April Fool’s Day!  I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely useless when it comes to playing practical jokes… and telling jokes full stop, to be totally and completely honest!  I either give the game away by giggling too soon or I screw up the punch line, and my go-to joke is the one about the panda who goes to a restaurant and eats shoots and leaves.  The one thing I am good at, however, is laughing at myself.  A couple of weeks ago, I managed to play the most ridiculous practical joke on myself while I was refilling a cook’s blowtorch.  When I (stupidly) decided to check whether it was working and pulled the trigger, the lighter fumes ignited and I was momentarily consumed by a ball of fire that not only burned my fingers but also singed off most of my eyebrows and a lot of my hair.  After the initial sobbing shock and cries of “my hair!!!” (and the call to NHS Direct to see if I needed to hop it down to A&E…) I did what I always do after I’ve done something stupid; I laughed long and hard over what an utter nob I was.

There’s nothing better than having a good ol’ chuckle, is there?  Even when times are tough having a laugh about it – y’know, a proper tear-streaming, snorting, rib-aching, gasping for air kind of laugh – is better than any kind of medicine.  And self-deprecation (or “self-defecation”, as I used to call it until someone stepped in and corrected me… yeesh…) is the one woman stand-up routine I’ve been performing since I can remember.  I slip into it so easily these days: if someone compliments my anything, I’ll launch head-first into a bit where I take out a metaphorical magnifying glass and hover it over every flaw I have and can think of.  Like, the dog hair clinging to my brand new black jeans, or my vampire skin that’s hilariously allergic to fake tan, that ketchup stain on my new shirt, my flat chest, my misbehaving hair and *tap tap* “Hey, is this thing on?”  I’ll downplay my own achievements and shrug them off as pure luck – as simply being in the right place at the right time – because – come on now – there’s absolutely no way this train wreck is capable of achieving anything on her own other than maybe inhaling three cream eggs in thirty seconds.

Har de ha.

And I know I’m not alone in this.  We’re all guilty of slipping into that old routine in social situations, aren’t we?  Whether we’re with our mates or with a whole crowd of new faces – it’s an easy way to seem more human – more relatable – to come across as humble instead of arrogant and therefore more likeable.  In theory!  But are we harming ourselves in the process?

If I’m constantly poking fun at myself and telling other people that I can’t cook to save my life, that I only wear flats because I look like drunk giraffe in heels, or that the reason I got that big promotion was completely down to luck rather than my own hard work, I’m going to start believing it myself.  And for what?  To spare someone else’s ego?  To be liked?  At that point we’re not self-deprecating anymore, we really are just self-defecating – shitting all over ourselves and our achievements!  And that ain’t cool, my friend!

I came across some sage words of advice on how to own your achievements and talents a while ago and it really stuck with me.  It’s basically all down to learning how to self-deprecate in a self-aggrandizing way.  I mean, you’re still poking fun of yourself – but you’re doing it in a much kinder, more positive way.  For example, instead of rolling your eyes and telling yourself and others “I can’t cook to save my life”, laugh at that burned slice of toast and declare proudly, “I clearly need my own cookery show – watch out Nigella Lawson!”  Next time your eyeliner’s wonky or you’ve gone in too hard with the blush, don’t pull the ol’ clown face gag out the bag – just have a chuckle and say, “Nailed it.”  Or the next time you send out an email full of mistakes (and to the wrong person – yikes!), instead of coming down hard on your writing skills just laugh and say, “Hey, I was clearly robbed of that Pulitzer.”  It’s a small switcheroo that’ll help change your mindset and have you owning both your flaws and achievements in a more positive way.

Let’s have a good ol’ laugh at ourselves without being the fool.

Anyone played any good April Fools pranks today?  The closest I got was Sunny politely informing me at 6.30am this morning that our toilet was backed up and spilling over – hilarious!  NOT.  Have a great week!  🙂

10 Podcasts I’m Listening to Right Now

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I feel like it took me a while to get on board with podcasts.  I mean, it took me a while to get my head around the fact that I might listen to something other than music when I plugged into my phone.  Podcasts were just chatter.  And then I found out that there were History Podcasts.  History Podcasts!  Literally hours and hours worth of chatter about historical women, which – to me – might as well be music because THAT IS MY JAM.  After listening to a few of those I became obsessed and suddenly found quiet corners of my day to day life where I could be catching up with them.  Walking Bungle: podcast.  Cooking dinner: podcast.  Doing my makeup: podcast.  Food shopping: podcast.  Cleaning: podcast.  Podcast, Podcast, Podcast.  You get the idea.  Even as I write this, I’ve got the latest episode of The High Low springing out my speakers.  There’s literally a podcast out there for every interest under the sun.  So without further ado, here’s a list of the podcasts I just can’t enough of. 🙂

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Queens

Sassy, brassy and bad-assy, I only started tuning into Katy and Nathan’s podcast about female rulers a few weeks ago, but I straight up fell in love with it.  It’s a little bit drunk history (they pair every episode with a subject-inspired cocktail – e.g. Poison for Lucrezia Borgia), and spend an hour just chin-wagging about history’s most famous Queens from Catherine de Medici to Boudicca.  They’ve also done a few episodes about “bad and boujee” babes from history like Caterina Sforza, as well as a few “side hustlers” like Nell Gwyn.  Definitely worth checking out if you’re a women’s history fanatic like me, but like your lessons light and funny.

The High Low

If you’re an avid podcast listener then you’ll be well aware of Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes’ smart and funny weekly rundown of pop culture and news.  Their latest episode, for example, hit up discussions surrounding IS teen Shamima Begum’s request to return to the UK, the decline in smear tests and other hot and newsworthy topics.  The High Low is where I go to get informed and fuel up for discussions(/arguments) about the zeitgeist with my family and friends.

Trump Inc

I love a juicy political documentary that dishes the dirt and digs deep, and if you’ve been following the goings on across the pond with equal fascination and horror, then this one’s for you.  Trump Inc is a reporting podcast that delves into Donald Trump’s businesses, how they work and who might be profiting from his administration.  Each episode rips the lid off the big movers and shakers of the Trump Administration and speculates about deals going on behind the scenes.  Really interesting stuff.

(Thanks for letting me know about this one Nina!).

The History Chicks

I LOVE the History Chicks!  It’s a bit more PG than Queens, but just as juicy and their back catalogue of episodes will keep you occupied for a loooong time.  I mean, I’ve been listening for a while now and I’m still catching up.  Beckett and Susan research every episode thoroughly and really dig in deep with each woman they discuss – dispelling myths and giving a true and entertaining account of each life.  They also add show notes full of pictures and articles and point their listeners in the direction of books and films if they want to know more.  My favourite episode they’ve done so far (it’s hard to choose, there are so many!) was the one they did about Empress Cixi – it was so interesting!

Happy Place

I definitely gravitate towards more cosy, chatty podcasts and that’s exactly how I’d describe Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place.  Each episode she has a good old chinwag and heart to heart with a celebrity about their struggles in life and how they found their Happy Place.  She recently did an episode with Natalie Dormer (Yas Queeeeeen) about how she mentally prepares herself for her acting roles and it was such a lovely listen for a quiet Sunday morning. 🙂

Female Criminals

If you’re into true crime, then you’ll love this.  I’ve only just started listening, but it’s definitely one I’m going to enjoy dipping in and out off.  Female Criminals is about female criminals!  In each episode Vanessa and Sami delve into the minds of some of the world’s most famous female criminals – from Charlotte Corday to Myra Hindley – looking at the lives, motivations and psychologies behind some of the biggest crimes committed by women.

The Guilty Feminist

“I’m a feminist, but…” If you’ve been listening to podcasts for a while then I’d be surprised if The Guilty Feminist isn’t on your subscription list.  Saying that, I don’t listen quite as religiously as I do with some of the others on my list, but I do like catching up sometimes when I’m cooking if the subject matter takes my fancy.  Each episode is an hour long chat hosted by comedian Deborah Frances-White and her guests where they discuss modern feminism and have a laugh about the contradictions and insecurities facing feminists in their day to day lives.

Gallus Girls and Wayward Women

Another history podcast, I know, but this one focuses purely on British women.  A little less chatty and more documentary, each episode is thoroughly researched and reads almost like a story.  I recently listened to an episode that delved into the lives of the Ripper Victims (so fascinating to learn more about the women rather than the murderer and mystery surrounding him) and really got a sense – not only of the characters involved – but of the grim East End of Victorian London.

(Thanks to Claire over at Hisdoryan for letting me know about this one!).

Ctrl Alt Delete

If you’re a part of generation internet then you’ll be well aware of Emma Gannon and her book about growing up online.  In her podcast she interviews guests about their lives and relationship with creativity, identity, mental health and the internet!  Her most recent episode was with Felicity Jones who plays the amazing Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her latest film “On The Basis of Sex” – which I can’t wait to see!

The Creative Introvert

If you’re a creative who works best on their own then you need to check this one out.  In each episode Cat discusses ways that introverts can find their inner “superpower”, harness their creativity and get stuff done.  She addresses the issues introverts face from confidence to motivation and – eeeep! – working with other people, and invites guests on to discuss their creative journey.

That’s it!  Which podcasts are you listening to right now?  Let me know your favourites down below!

5 Things I’ve Been Loving Lately

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Monday, we meet again!  But hey, at least it’s not January anymore; now that the longest month of  the year is done and dusted, it feels like we’re that much closer to spring.  It’s the little things that tend to keep me going this time of year.  You know, something decent to binge watch away those dark nights, fresh recipes to try, colourful spring fashion, and a good ol’ routine that’ll help me keep on top of things – as well as slicing in a little time to do the things I really love. So without further ado, here are five things I’ve been loving lately… 🙂

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1. Snow

I honestly didn’t think we were going to see a sequel to last year’s Beast from the East, but last Thursday evening it started snowing in Cardiff and didn’t stop until 4am the following morning.  It was nowhere near as bad as last year and it was pretty much gone by the afternoon – but there was enough of the stuff to get Bungle excited.  He went absolutely mental when Sunny and I took him out for his walk in the field; it always makes me smile watching him roll around in it! 🙂

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2. Pyjama Shirts

As if I need anymore weird shirts.  Except I really, really do!  Even as I tip-toe further into my thirties, I’m still kind of figuring out my own personal style – but what I have figured out is that I’m a jeans and a nice top kinda girl through and through, and the nice tops I like to wear are shirts.  The weirder the better.  Recently I’ve added a few pyjama shirts to my collection for a bit of variety.  They’re so comfortable and I feel like you can easily dress them up or down.  Sunny bought me a beautiful celestial-printed Neon Rose one for Christmas, and I managed to pick up this green one from Toppers in the January sales.

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3. Outlander

Oh man, I feel like I’ve been totally spoiled for TV over the past few weeks.  My absolute favourite show right now is Outlander (bodice rippers, I just can’t get enough…).  I’m deep into Season 4 which is currently being drip-fed an episode a week via Amazon Prime, and I’ve really reached that point when you watch a series where you’re totally invested and adore every single character.  I LOVE IT.  Also on my weekly watch list right now is  the BBC adaptation of Les Miserables, as well as Cleaning Up on ITV.  I think Sheridan Smith is fab! 🙂

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4. Lunch

If you caught my New Year, New Habits post at the start of the year then you’ll know that I’ve been trying to add a few more easy, healthy recipes to my repertoire – especially for lunch.  I’m absolutely useless when it comes to carving out time to eat a proper meal at lunchtime – I’m definitely a grab and go kind of girl – but it’s something I’m trying to change.  I had a little rejig of my weekly routine at the start of the year and decided to make some extra time to make lunch for myself every day – whether that’s just egg on toast, or something a little fancier like this super easy Mango Chicken.  So far, so good!

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5. Yoga

Another new habit I wanted to set in stone this year was to start either yoga or pilates.  I was slow off the mark on this one, but last week – after seeing a few people talking about it on Social Media – I started Adriene’s 30 Day Dedicate Yoga Journey.  I’m not doing it every single day – bam, bam, bam – just whenever I can squeeze in forty minutes in the morning – I’m a total beginner after all.  Sure, I’d like to tone up a little, but that’s not the main reason I’m doing it – I already feel like having forty minutes of focus and relaxation on a daily basis will be really good for my mental health and general mood.  🙂

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What’s giving you a little boost to get you through to Spring? 🙂

What’s in my Makeup Bag? The Winter Edition

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High five; we made it through January!  I’m so happy to see the back of it, and even though we’re celebrating the first day of February here in Cardiff with a fresh sheet of snow – it feels good knowing that we’re winging our way into Spring.  Soon – we’re not quite there yet – which means a few more weeks of dark mornings, dark circles and deathly pale skin, and that means a shakeup in the ol’ makeup bag.  It’s working so, so hard right now, let me tell you!

Just before Christmas I picked up a few new beauty bits and bobs from Boots and TK Maxx (if you’ve never raided their makeup section before, then oh boy, you’re in for a treat my friend) to see me through to Spring.

1. CYO “The Radiant One” Bronzing & Illuminating Compact in “Light”

Alas, my Florida tan is long gone and when I hit pan on my Body Shop Honey Bronzer I felt like it was time for a bit of a shake up.  I’ve got fair skin and honestly, I’m a bit of a Bronze-aphobe (is that a thing?).  Too much and I look like I’ve face-planted into a muddy puddle but at the same time, I do need something to warm up my pale skin.  I picked up the CYO Bronzing and Illuminating Compact on a bit of a whim when I stepped into Boots just after Christmas and absolutely fell in love with it.  It’s cheap – only a fiver – and the lighter compact is absolutely perfect for pale, cool-toned skin like mine.  The bronzer is subtle but buildable, while the added highlighter adds a really lovely glow.

2. Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer in Light (3)

What a TK Maxx bargain this baby was!  I’m still a massive fan of the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, but it’s a little dewy and so light and works best during spring and summer.  In the winter I need a bit more coverage, so I picked up this little bottle by Stila (since it was more than half price off) and it’s been evening up my blotchy – sometimes dry – winter skin.  It applies smoothly over blemishes and wrinkles, sticks with a matte finish (without drying things out) and really does stay all day.  Winner!

3. Lancôme Crayon Khol

An old favourite and the only eye pencil I use.  I can’t tell you how many of these I’ve got rolling around in my makeup bag that are literally just the nib.  I use the until they’re unusable – tight-lining, lid-lining, smudging – this baby copes with the lot and has never once irritated my eyes in the process.

Also, shout out to the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner – it’s been my go-to for years.  I picked up the version with the micro-point last time I repurchased – wondering whether it would make it any easier to create the cat-eye flick I go for day to day – but actually, I think I prefer the normal tip.

4. Stila Eyes Are the Windows Spirit Palette

Another TK Maxx steal – I couldn’t believe my luck!  I absolutely love this palette; it’s got a gorgeous range of neutral, cool-toned shades with buildable colour for looks that work both during the day and at night.

5. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in “Pink in the Afternoon”

I’m so fussy when it comes to lipstick.  I like cool-toned pinks (are we seeing a trend here?), long-lasting, absolutely no shimmer and they need to be moisturising – I’ve never got on with MAC’s range because they leave my lips a flaky mess.  I was devastated when Revlon discontinued their Lip Butter range, but thankfully, the Super-Lustrous range is just as good.  Pink in the Afternoon is that perfect “your lips but better” shade that I reach for every day. 🙂

I’m actually on the hunt for a new mascara because my Bad Gal Bang’s just not banging anymore – what’s everyone loving right now? 🙂

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