27 November 2011

Project 365: #121 Popcorn and Skype

Popcorn from a vending machine?  Only in North America!  I decided I wanted a snack before dinner when I got in from work so went to the vending machine in the lobby and this is what I found!  I couldn't resist munching on this while chatting to Danny on Skype. That reminds me - does anyone else find Skype a complete godsend?  I don't know how I'd have coped in Canada without it!

26 November 2011

Project 365: #120 My hotel in Québec

I thought I'd give you all a little tour of my hotel room since it's quite nice!  I booked it myself so I made sure that I booked one of the rooms that was refurbished earlier this year - definitely pleased!  Look at the size of the bed!  I love how big the beds are in North America - I'm sure there's room for at least three people in there!  It's really cosy too - I've definitely been getting a good night's sleep in there!  Next to my bedroom is a small living room - basically with a sofa, a desk, small fridge and microwave, TV and DVD player. Then next to the front door is the bathroom - I'm going to miss this when I go back home!  It's so big and even has two sinks!  A bit comical when it's only me staying here but never mind!  Do you think there's any way I can sneak the tropical rain shower into my suitcase?

25 November 2011

Project 365: #119 A day of travelling

What with all the high security in airports nowadays, I didn't really want to stand around Heathrow trying to get a photo for my blog and looking suspicious so I'm afraid I've had to use a picture from BAA's aviation photo library (who knew they even had such a thing!  A simple Google images search enlightened me!)

When I was booking my flights, I purposely chose one that left around midday so that I wouldn't have to get up too early but would still arrive in Quebec at a reasonable time and therefore wouldn't be too tired for work the next day.  The flights I got worked quite well - an 8 hour flight to Ottawa, followed by an hour's stopover in Ottawa then an hour long flight to Quebec still made me pretty tired but I managed to avoid jet lag for the most part.  I have no doubt that the return journey will be much worse since I arrive back in London at 7.30am, which will be 2.30am Canadian time!

In the end, it was definitely a good job that I wasn't taking photos in Ottawa Airport - I already got pulled to one side by customs and questioned about why I was entering Canada.  Seemingly working for an accountancy firm and doing an audit is a lot more interesting that I ever thought!  Thankfully, after about five minutes they let me go - I was worried I was going to miss my connection!  Fingers crossed my return to the UK is a lot less dramatic!

24 November 2011

Project 365: #118 “I’m leaving on a jet plane” dinner

I mentioned that my trip to Canada meant a few nice dinners out before I left?  Well this was the meal that me and Danny went out for on my penultimate night.  We went to Newbury Manor Hotel again – where we went for exam results in February and August.  The food there is absolutely delicious and I think it’s my new favourite restaurant in Newbury (my favourite was The Square, but it closed down about a year ago – sad times!)

We had three courses (and were both completely stuffed afterwards – eyes bigger than our bellies I think!)  I had scallops with pancetta and vanilla (sounds weird but was lush!) followed by chicken with mushrooms on a bed of spinach and sautéed potatoes then crème brûlée and Danny had oxtail ravioli followed by braised shoulder of lamb with mashed potato and roasted root vegetables then crème brûlée too.  Desserts are my favourite bit of a meal, but I only managed to eat half!  Whoops!  Danny did the same though so I didn’t feel too bad!  By the time we finished, we were both shattered (food comas I think!) so being the rock and roll couple that we are, we went straight home rather than out for drinks like we planned!  Old before our time I think!

23 November 2011

Project 365: #117 Pretty packaging

For those of you who haven't heard of StylistPick, I'll give you a brief explanation.  Basically it's a subscription service (which you only pay for when you have made your first order) - you fill in a questionnaire and then each month you receive an email with accessories tailored for you.  Each item is £39.95 and with your first order, you get £10 off.  Delivery and returns are free.  Sounds great, right?  Well my experience of it has been!

I placed my order on Thursday morning and received this beautiful box on Friday lunchtime.  In my haste, I completely forgot to take a photo of the shoes inside, but I've taken a stock photo from their website (mine are light grey rather than black):

They're so comfy, and for £29.95, you really can't go wrong!  Have you tried StylistPick yet?  What do you think of it?  If you're interested in signing up, click here!

PS.  I have not been paid or asked to write this post and I don't get any reward from doing so, except your lovely comments! :)

22 November 2011

Project 365: #116 Get well soon Mum!

You may remember me mentioning that my mum has been off sick from work for the last three months (hence all the baking hereherehere and here!) with sciatica.  It hasn't been getting any better at all and has sometimes been even worse recently, so she had a lumbar epidural today (to you and me, that's an injection into her spine, between the vertebrae - ouch!)  She gave me a ring after she got out of the hospital to let me know how it was, and said it was the most painful thing she'd ever experienced (this coming from a woman who's had two children and a root canal)  To try and make her feel a bit better, I ordered some flowers from Interflora - it turns out that they do next day delivery!  She was very surprised and happy - job done :)

21 November 2011

Project 365: #115 Bonfire Night


As you may have guessed, Bonfire Night is one of my favourite nights of the year.  I absolutely love it!  I guess I'm just amazed by fireworks and love getting all wrapped up to go outside and watch them - I wish it wasn't just an annual occasion!  I very nearly missed out on fireworks night this year though - Danny's not a big fan and couldn't be persuaded even when I offered to pay for him! Thankfully, in stepped my brother, who also wanted to go to the display at Newbury Racecourse so we had a sibling evening instead. Unsurprisingly, I absolutely loved it :)

Project 365: #114 You have no idea how jealous I am....

You may remember me mentioning (here) that Danny's dad had managed to get two tickets to the recording of Michael Bublé's Christmas show, which will be broadcast on ITV in mid-December.  Well unfortunately for me, Danny's mum and sister Nicola went so I didn't get to go (although I have got an uncut recording of the show so have got to see it all anyway!)  One of Danny's dad's colleagues managed to get an autograph for his wife, and Nicola spent the rest of the following week saying that she couldn't believe that their dad didn't get an autograph for her.  Little did she know that instead, he'd managed to get a birthday card written for her instead!  Her face was a picture when she opened this on her birthday!

20 November 2011

Project 365: #113 Mussels and pizza

Just before I came to Canada, Danny and I went out for dinner to Zero Degrees – a restaurant and microbrewery in Reading.  Whenever we go there, I always have mussels – moules marinière is one of my favourite dishes and at Zero Degrees, they do a kilo mussels with fries.  Mmmm!  I know that a kilo of mussels sounds like a lot, but when you think about the fact that they’re only tiny in their shells, it doesn't seem quite so bad.  That said, I still can never manage it all!

This time I decided to forego a starter so that I didn’t ruin my appetite – surprisingly sensible for me!  Danny had gorgonzola and mushroom gnocchi like he had last time we went (absolutely delicious!) followed by a Smoky Mexican pizza.  He loves spicy food so the combination of spicy mexican sausage, roasted mixed peppers, red onions, sweetcorn, jalapeños and chilli oil jumped out at him – I thought it would as I read down the menu!  Since I hadn’t had a starter, I did manage to stretch to a dessert – a warm chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream.  Wow!  I’d recommend going to Zero Degrees for this alone, let alone the mussels and the other wonderful food!  Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Reading!

Project 365: #112 Ali's birthday

Happy birthday Ali!  We spent the night before her birthday with a Chinese takeaway, my Cookie Monster cupcakes and some wine, catching up and watching movies whilst wallowing in our sugar comas.  The next day, Ali got her presents from her family - from her parents, she had a suitcase for weekends away and her mum had got her a couple of other bits, unbeknown to Ali, and put them inside the suitcase.  I really like the way she did it - like a little parcel chain!  I think I'll have to try and recreate that at Christmas!

19 November 2011

Project 365: #111 Cookie Monster cupcakes

Well here they are - the cupcakes that I mentioned here!  My perfectionist tendencies came out a bit here since Ali, who I was making them for as a birthday present, does cake decorating classes!  To start with, I couldn't decide what cupcakes to make, but decided to go with Cookie Monster ones since they look great and she loves cookies - it seemed like the ideal combination!

They started off simply as vanilla cupcakes, then I had to make a huge batch of buttercream (as you can see above!), dye it blue (which took a whole bottle of food colouring!) and then mound it on top of the cupcakes to make the head.  After a hour in the fridge to set, I coated the buttercream in coconut (which I had dyed blue the night before), stuck on the eyes (white chocolate buttons with milk chocolate chips stuck on) and put a cookie in the mouth by slicing into the buttercream.  Needless to say, it took me a good 3-4 hours to make these, but I'm really pleased with how they turned out :)

18 November 2011

Project 365: #110 Crazy doggy

You really can’t help but love Max.  He’s such an affectionate dog that even if he’s lying down falling asleep in the living room, he has to be touching someone – resting against their leg or something.  He really doesn’t like it when we’re all quiet watching TV and usually sits staring at someone until they pay him some attention.  Seemingly despite doing this, he still didn’t get enough attention while we were watching The X Factor results so proceeded to do this in front of the TV and generally roll around like this until we made a fuss of him!  Obviously it worked!

17 November 2011

Time for an update...

Ok, so I've been really rubbish at blogging lately, as you may have noticed.  Hectic times at work coupled with an impending trip to Canada for work (where I am now!) and therefore trying to spend as much time with Danny before going away, meant my blog got a bit neglected I'm afraid.  But I'm now back, and intend to fully get back into blogging, so here goes!

Since I've had a few weeks about a month off, I thought I'd give you all a bit of an update on what's been going on recently.  Despite all the work, I have managed to fit in a few more exciting things so you can expect to see these popping up over the next few days for my Project 365 posts.

Danny's little sister turned 17 a couple of weeks ago, so organised a party at their house with a load of her friends.  Needless to say, myself and Danny stayed well clear of a house full of 17 year olds and spent the night at mine instead!  She apparently had a great time though, and was very appreciative of the money we gave her for driving lessons (in her words, she is "sick at driving"!)  Her birthday was made somewhat complete by a birthday card from none other than Michael Bublé!  You may remember me mentioning that Danny's dad was working on a TV Xmas special that he was hosting?  Yep, he got the card written then!

My friend Ali has also had a birthday while I've been away and as she had been ill, I decided to make her some cupcakes (she does cake decorating classes so was going to make a cake herself but didn't feel up to it).  I was feeling pretty tremendous pressure to make decent looking cupcakes so I spent a fair bit of time trawling the internet for ideas, until I came up with the ones I settled upon making.  I won't spoil the surprise now, because they'll feature heavily in one of my upcoming posts, but I will say now that I was am pretty damn proud of myself for how they turned out!

Date nights
If nothing else, the trip to Canada has meant that me and Danny have had a couple of date nights recently - something that I'm definitely not complaining about!  In fact we have another one planned for the day after I get back too.  I could really get used to this!  Nothing like some quality couple time to wind down at the end of the week :)

Bonfire Night
Now I don't know about any of you, but for me Bonfire Night is my favourite night of the year!  I think it even just edges it over Christmas if I'm honest with you.  Unfortunately, Danny is a lot less keen - so much so that I couldn't persuade him to come to a display with me.  In steps my brother, who also wanted to go, so the pair of us headed to Newbury Racecourse to watch the display there.  400 photos later.........expect a photo heavy post when I do this one!

Quebec, Canada
Contrary to popular belief, travelling for work isn't all that it's made out to be, especially when you're on the other side of the world on your own.  That said, I'm trying to make the best of it and am quite enjoying the quiet evenings with time to chill to myself.  I plan to start my Christmas shopping this weekend since I have the weekend free and I will definitely be paying a visit to Sephora - one of my favourite shops on the planet!  I only wish we had it in England!

Thanks for sticking with my blog through the long silence - I really appreciate it :)

16 November 2011

£20 Kurt Geiger update

Quick update guys - the Kurt Geiger voucher in December's ELLE magazine can also be used on accessories rather than just shoes! I'm tempted to get more than one now :)

6 November 2011

Free Nails Inc!

Photo: weheartit.com

Another hot deal today for you all - Glamour magazine are giving away a free full size Nails Inc varnish this month.  Colours available are Tate (red), Victoria (deep red), Piccadilly Circus (plum) and Basil Street (beige).  Another great magazine deal - what's going on this month?  I'm definitely not complaining though :)

PS.  Apologies about the complete lack of blog posts recently - I've been a bit busy applying for jobs and suchlike but I'll be back later in the week :)

2 November 2011

£20 off Kurt Geiger

Photo: weheartit.com

I've just been informed about a deal on Kurt Geiger shoes and had to share it with you all! I absolutely love Kurt Geiger so £20 off is a definite must for me! December's ELLE magazine (which is on sale today) includes a £20 voucher which you must register online to activate. At £3.80 for the magazine, this is an absolute bargain! Not only that, but the voucher lasts for 12 months after registration (you must register by 31 December) I know I'll definitely be getting hold of a copy of ELLE this month!

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