Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Healthy Gluten Free Pancakes

I don't know about you, but I am a HUGE morning person.  One of my favourite parts of the day is waking up, having a cup of tea in bed and relaxing with youtube videos.  But by far the best bit is breakfast.  Even as a child, my parents would always leave a biscuit by my bed as my blood sugar gets so low overnight, so for me, breakfast is most definitely the most important meal of the day.  However, I can't get away with just a slice of toast: I need something more substantial.  So read on if you're interested in finding out how to make the best healthy (drop scone) style pancakes.


Serves one

*One egg
*Two/three tablespoons gluten free museli (I use Tesco's gluten free oat museli)
*Two/three tablespoons gluten free self raising flour (I use Glebe Farm gluten free self raising)
*Five tablespoons milk

To serve:

*Berries (fresh or frozen)
*Natural yoghurt


1)  Blend all the ingredients together with a spoon in a bowl until the consistency is fairly runny.
2)  Pour or spoon a small amount of the batter into a very good non-stick frying pan.  If you don't have one, you can melt half a teaspoon of margarine into the pan to avoid sticking.
3)  When you can see the edges of the pancake start to come slightly away from the pan, turn them over.  Repeat this until both sides of the pancake are no longer sticky and are slightly browned. 
4)  Continue until there is no batter left!
I like to heat frozen berries in the microwave and drain off any excess juice (no one likes soggy pancakes!), and serve them over some natural yoghurt and banana.  And then top everything off with a generous drizzle of honey. 
Healthy, hearty and very filling.  Perfect breakfast material, and a definite crowd pleaser!


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Thinking About Studying Languages?

Okay, so you may or not be aware that I am in my final year of a Modern Languages degree at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, in which I specialise in Spanish.  If you'd asked me seven years ago if I would consider going down the languages path, I would have honestly laughed you out of the room.  The seemingly constant vocabulary tests and impossible grammar drills, and of course the speaking exams, had completely put me off.  However, because of my indecision of where I wanted to be in the future, and the pressure that was put on me to attend university full stop, I settled on doing a languages degree.

As I am two months away from graduating, and in the middle of a row of exams (yes, I am aware I should be working, but everyone needs a break), I thought I would put into words why you should consider a languages degree.  Because honestly, I love it.

1) The kudos:  Go into any conversation and when someone asks what you study, and you casually say 'Spanish', they will immediately be impressed.  You will then end up hearing about their aunt who lived in Benidorm for a year, but it really is worth it just for the look of admiration when they realise that you are bilingual.

2) Being bi/polylingual:  There is nothing more satisfying than being able to be deal with any situation, from renting a flat to buying an ice cream, in a foreign language, and having your listener respond in the same language.  In addition, most universities offer languages students the opportunity to study another language from beginner level: for me, it was obligatory, and I was lucky enough to study both German and Russian in my first year...though I cannot speak either of them now.

3) The job opportunities:  There is zero truth in the rumour that all languages students either become translators or teachers.  Just think about it.  With the 'world becoming smaller' by the day, and with the Internet and social media becoming more and more important in business, every single industry requires people that can speak other languages.  From fashion houses that need people to organise shoots in Barcelona, to the people who will be running the Olympics in Rio, and even down to the waiter who was able to check that your pasta sauce was vegetarian because he could speak English, language affects every element of modern life.

And don't think the excuse of 'everyone speaks English' will save you.  English is only the third most spoken native language in the world, behind Mandarin and Spanish.  So don't try it.

4) The travel:  My degree course, and I am willing to bet all language degrees will offer either optional or obligatory study abroad periods.  I personally spent a year in Seville, working in a school, though I know people who spent a few months working on a coffee farm in Nicaragua, to working in a publishing house in Madrid.  And it's not just the amazing work experience (that by the way, future employers love!), it is everything else that comes with it: the food, the weather, the amazing tan, the friends and all the incredible memories that you will leave with.

And it's not just in university that having a language degree will give you these opportunities: having a second language will give you so many chances to travel abroad for so many reasons other than tourism - maybe your boss needs someone to attend Madrid Fashion Week, and wants someone to interview a Spanish designer?  You can be that person.  There is just so much that you can offer.

5) You are not tied down:  You will have so much flexibility, both in and out of university.  My university allowed me to choose modules outside my school, meaning that I was able to take modules such as journalism, giving me a whole host of different skills.  And in the work place, as I've already said, languages can open doors into so many areas, from law to politics to cinema to really is up to you!

6) The degree itself:  Okay, I will admit here that doing speaking exams really does suck.  Standing up in front of people, talking about something in another language is seriously daunting, but once you have got through it, you can do it again and again.  My teachers have been amazing, and due to the Spanish attitude, the classes have (usually) been fun and very interesting, and in no other degree would you be able to go out drinking with your lecturers.  The openness and friendship that comes with a degree that basically revolves around talking is like none other.

Not to mention the fact that the government will often fund postgraduate teaching courses for subjects that are 'rare' - languages is one of them, so gaining a 2:1 in a language degree could get you a £20,000 grant to train as a languages teacher.

I am so glad that I chose to study Spanish, and I know that, even though I am planning on going into the family business of being a teacher, I have such an extra edge to my skill set that I will never have much trouble finding a job in the future.

And if that hasn't persuaded you, don't forget that these hotties are native Spanish speakers:

Much love xx

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Top Ten under £5

The drugstore seems to have really upped its game recently as far as affordable beauty is concerned.  Being an impoverished student with a growing addiction to lipstick, being able to find amazing quality yet cheap products makes me very excited.  Somehow I don’t think I am the only one.  So read on for my top ten drugstore beauty products for under £5.

Okay, so not technically drugstore.  Normally, I steer clear of the Body Shop when it comes to buying products.  Don’t get me wrong, their Moringa range is one of my all-time favourite fragrances, but I just can’t justify spending so much on fairly small products.  However, I will make an exception for the Aloe lip treatment.  I put it on just before I go to sleep, and my poor, wind and cold battered lips feel beautiful and renewed by the next morning.  The only slight downside is it feels a bit greasy, so I don’t use it during the day, but as a night-time lip mask, it’s a winner.

I use this every day.  Repeat: EVERY.  DAY.  I have tried various BB creams and tinted moisturisers, but none seem to give the light but complete coverage that I like, without irritating my skin.  It doesn’t last as well as a foundation might, but I do find my skin looks glowy and dewy throughout the day.  

Am I the only blogger who is yet to try Benefit Gimme Brow?  This seems to be a pretty close relative to the iconic brow product, and thought the strange rounded end has attracted a bit of negative press, for someone like me with decent sized eyebrows naturally, it works a charm.  Just a quick swipe and my brows are set for the day.  It can even be built up for a more intense look for the night-time (vital if you have a fringe!)

Hint: always buy this when it is on offer.  At nearly £8 normally, this wonder product would not make it into this list, but it is almost always on offer in either Boots or Superdrug.  I must admit I am a bit scared of fake tan (bad, tiger striped experience in second year…).  This stuff acts just like a body lotion, but gradually builds up a tan, which is light enough for mistakes not to show – and gradually building it up means that if you spot a mistake, you can sort it out!  If I’m feeling a bit peaky, I will put a small blob of this on my face, and it brings me back to the land of the living.  Just love this.

This is another on that is best to buy on offer.  My mum swears by this stuff as she has ‘non-waterproof skin’, so she needs the most intensive moisturiser she can find.  Enter the Dove Pro-Age body butter.  I actually use this on my face more than anywhere else: this winter has been cruel to my skin, and all my favourite moisturisers seem to be breaking me out or causing an irritating rash on my face.  And honestly, this has really helped clear it up.  Also it is anti-ageing so bonus (hello fourth year).

Apologies for the state of the bottle: it's well loved.
Yes, you read that right: one pound.  As of yet, I have only tried this shade in the MUA nail polish collection, and I am seriously impressed.  It is a very close dupe for L’Oreal’s ‘Nouvelle Vague’ which was all over the internet last summer.  The best part is how long it lasts: I am terrible with nail varnish – a lack of patience combined with picking at chipped nails means that I tend to do my nails every day.  This lasted for a grand total of three days before I started attacking it.  For one pound.  The only downside is that the collection is pretty small: more colours please MUA!

As I have said, this winter has been a meanie to my skin, and so after trying cleansers from Lush, the Body Shop and everywhere else, I went back to my old favourites: the Superdrug Deep Action range.  Quick disclaimer: if you have sensitive skin, this range is probably not for you.  But for me, I love it.  After a week of using it, the weird rash has gone away, my blackheads are disappearing, and a patch of nasty, painful spots on my neck (of all places) are starting to heal and fade.

To continue from the previous product, this range is just incredible for how affordable it is.  I like to use the blackhead scrub just after I wake up, to give my face a burst of invigoration, followed by drying my skin, then applying the Detoxifying Cream, which I rub in.  If I’m treating myself, I leave it on for five minutes, and then remove the ‘mask’ with a hot, wrung out flannel.  If this product range was five times the price, I would buy it.  That’s how much I love it.

Next time you pass Superdrug (it’s not in Boots unfortunately), pop in and smell this shower gel.  Honestly, it is the most delectable, mouth-wateringly incredible scent I have ever experienced.  I am just obsessed.  The lather is delicate and very cleansing, and the scent lingers on your skin afterwards too, which means I have been known to walk around smelling myself for an hour after a shower.  True story.  There is also a bath soak in this fragrance too, but if I had to choose one, I'd go for the shower crème.  Just go smell it - I dare you not to fall in love.

Counter-clockwise: Fab Orange, Berry Much, Red Essential, Keep It Classy
Talking about obsessed, these lip pencils have changed my life.  They are like a super thick lip liner, with the soft, smooth texture of a lipstick, which makes them easy to apply cleanly.  The colour payoff is outstanding: even one layer gives you perfect coverage.  And boy, do the last.  I wore Red Essential to university today, and it lasted through two seminars, lunch, two cups of tea and plenty of chatting, with only one top up (purely because I love applying it so much).  
Clockwise: Red Essential, Keep It Classy, Fab Orange, Berry Much
I currently own Red Essential (the most perfect red), Keep It Classy (a plum toned neutral pink), Berry Much (a gorgeous berry purple) and Fab Orange (a wow-inducing orange-red), all of which I adore and wear pretty much every day.  If you buy one product this month, make it one of these!

What are your top ten products under five pounds?  

*All opinions are my own and all products were bought with my own money.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Wish List

Don't judge me: I'm sitting in bed, in my pyjamas, listening to Christmas music and drinking tea. 

I've been a pretty luck girl this year already, what with my incredibly lovely and generous parents replacing my slowly dying laptop with this fancy-schmansy new one,  but due to their request, here is this year's Christmas list!

French Bulldog Money Box:

I saw one of these gorgeous little fellas in the window of Thunder Egg in Manchester's Northern Quarter, and by the looks of things, they are sold out on their website (waaaaah).  Ideally, a real French bulldog puppy would complete my snuggle life, but until then, this little babe will suffice.

Stella McCartney Eau de Parfum:

Perfection in a bottle: a wonderful blend of musky and girly, giving a hint of sophisticated seduction.  Or at least that's how I felt after trying it on.  And at £53 for 50ml from Boots, it's substantially cheaper than my other perfume obsession, that comes in the shape of Dior's Pure Poison.

New Look Bear Ear Bathrobe:

How adorable and snuggly is this?!  I have ruined the last two bathrobes that I've had with hair dye (oops), so I promise that this one will be used solely for cuddling up.  Promise.

New Look Black Buckled Ankle Boots:

Anyone that has seen me in the last month will testify that I have been wearing the same black heeled ankle boots every single day, and for a very good reason.  They are so damn comfortable, keep my tootsies warm and dry and go with EVERYTHING.  These slightly more 'jazzy' babies would be perfect for nights out or days where I want to feel a bit more special. 

FYI, size six.  Ta.

Yankee Candle Midnight Jasmine:

Does this really need an explanation?  Oh.  Well, I am well and truly obsessed with jasmine, from several jasmine scented candles, hints of jasmine being in the majority of my favourite perfumes and my little jasmine flower tattoo on my foot.  I had a mini one of this candle before, and if I'd had my own way, it would have been permanently attached to my nose as it smelled AMAZING.  Please please?

Lush Cosmetic Warrior Mask:

So it may not be the prettiest or most glamourous, but winter has been horrible to my skin this year, so it could definitely do with some love.  The Lush charcoal soap is great for helping trouble skin calm down, so a combination of those two would be very much appreciated.  Or a relaxing intensive facial if you fancy splurging.

Soap and Glory Breakfast Scrub:

Hello old friend.  Soap and Glory's Breakfast Scrub has been a regular feature on my blog since discovering it maybe two years ago?  Next time you're in Boots, just smell it.  It's like maple syrup and oats and pancakes and happiness all in one perfect pot.  I might not actually hold out until Christmas before I buy another one though...

Prewetts Christmas Tree Shortbread:

Best.  Biscuits.  Ever.  Just all of them please.

If I'm honest though, I've got what I want for Christmas, which is to have got through the penultimate semester of University, and a whole day with my wonderful Josh, snuggled up in pyjamas, watching movies and eating all the food and drinking all the prosecco. 

Roll on the 25th!