Friday, 31 October 2014

October in Pins

  1. I'd really love my hair to be this colour
  2. Yummy cheese and broccoli soup served a crusty roll
  3. Such a cute kitty, I can't wait to have a cat of my own
  4. This is the sort of pumpkin I'd get Josh to carve for me
  5. The more pinterest desk I see, the more I really want a desk
  6. Whitby covered in snow
  7. I love everything about this living room
  8. Nutella and cinnamon french toast rolls
You can keep up to date with what I'm pinning by following my Pinterest boards here. 


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Lauren's Lists: Places We Want to Visit

It's been four long years since Josh and I had a holiday abroad and while we can often be caught daydreaming of hot sandy beaches and lounging around a pool there's actually lot's a places around the world we'd like to visit and not just for a beach holiday...

  1. Florida - for the theme parks. Josh has actually been a few times when he was a kid and he's always said he'd love for us to go. In the past year or so I've really come around to the idea and I really want to go now.
  2. New Zealand - because every looks so beautiful and being nerds we'd love to see parts of the country that Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed in.
  3. London museums - when we visited London for my 21st we didn't get chance to visit any museums but we'd love to go back and spend hours wandering around.
  4. Edinburgh - we visited there for the day 6 years ago at Christmas and we loved it. We really want to go back and spend a few days there properly exploring the place. 
  5. New York - it doesn't really need an explanation does it?!
  6. Washington DC - for all the sight seeing
  7. New Orleans - I'm not sure why but visiting here is something I've always wanted to do 
  8. Chester - we've heard it's like our favourite place, York so we're all over wanting to visit there!
  9. Paris - ok so this is less of a 'we want to visit' and more of a 'I want to visit' place. Josh hates the idea of Paris, I love the idea of Paris. I've just got to get to work persuading him we should go now!
  10. Lake Como - just look how beautiful it is
Of course there are so many other places we want to visit put I thought I best just keep it at 10 for today.


Monday, 27 October 2014

BEAUTY: A Skincare Overhaul

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

I've being having a lot of trouble with my skin for some time now and it's started to really get me down. My skin was never bad as a teenager but for some reason as an adult it's awful! I'm prone to getting those horrible under skin spots, you know that ones that are really red and quite painful, on my chin and jaw line and I've decided it's about time I have a skincare overhaul. I've been lapping up Kate's posts recently as she's blogging a lot about blemish prone skin and natural products and I just cannot get enough of her advice and recommendations. I want products that are going to get the job done without being harsh or full of chemicals and the above selection seem perfect. Weleda is a brand I've had my eye on for some time and both products sound perfect for me, the almond cleanser would make the perfect evening cleanser. The Nourish cleanser also seems like another winner and would be perfect to use in a morning. I'm intrigued my the Kojac sponge and really want to give this one with bamboo charcoal in it a go. As for the Biotin I've read a fair amount of reviews claiming that it's perfect for sorting problem skin out (it's apparently good for hair and metabolism too). I can sense a Feel Unique order happening very soon.


Friday, 24 October 2014

RECIPE: Vegetable Pasta Bake

I can't believe this is my first savoury recipe on here, though I suppose that's just a true reflection of me as I love baking and lets be fair sweet treats are much more fun! I do enjoy cooking though it's just I don't make the time to experiment much as Josh is very picky with his food and I often can't be bothered to try out stuff for myself. The other night though I whipped myself up a veggie pasta bake from scratch. It was the perfect dish for this time of year too, hearty and warming. I definitely want to try and put some more savoury recipes on here in the future and have a go at cooking some more veggie dishes. I'm not a vegetarian I'm just not a huge fan of meat.

100g Macaroni pasta
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
Vegetable stock
1 onion
Vegetables of your choice (I used baby corn, red pepper and trimmed beans)
Mixed herbs
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Grated cheese

Step one: Chop your onion and other vegetables that may need chopping or slicing
Step two: Set your pasta cooking. In a large pan heat some oil then add your onions
Step three: Once onions have browned added your other vegetables and your chopped tomatoes
Step four: Add 180ml of vegetable stock then season with mixed herbs, salt and pepper.
Step five: Allow the liquid to reduce down and drain pasta. Add pasta to reduced sauce.
Step six: Put everything into an oven proof dish, sprinkle with Josh and allow to bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

I served mine with a bit of garlic bread. I found my recipe to make enough for two people so if like me you're making this recipe for one you can always freeze half of your pasta bake and have it another day.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

ADVICE: 10 Pros and Cons of Supply Work in Schools

When my temporary contract came to an end in the summer I didn't have another job lined up (not for the want for trying). I saw an advert looking for people interested in supply work in schools and thought it was worth signing up with the agency. I've been with an agency for 2 months now so I thought I'd offer up some advice on the pros and cons of supply work.Obviously I can only give advice based on the kind of supply work I have being doing.

PRO - The first and the biggest pro of supply work is it obviously hands down beats being unemployed. You can continue gaining knowledge in your field and earn money.

CON - any missed day is a day without pay. If you're really ill, going to an interview etc most companies still pay you. If your unavailable to work supply you obviously don't get paid. Which can make a big difference to your wage.

PRO - the money is quite good. If I worked five days a week, all day I would earn more than what I did in my last job. There are opportunities to get that much work too so it can work out quite well some weeks.

CON - the above being said unless you get a long term placement somewhere your wage will probably differ from week to week which can be difficult. 

PRO - you can gain a tonne of experience. Before taking up supply work I'd only worked in a primary school with the youngest children in the school then I'd gone on to volunteering in a day nursery working with babies and toddlers. I said I'd never ever work in a secondary school but my mind was soon changed when faced with either sucking it up and taking work in a secondary school or being jobless. I decided to give it a go and it turns out I actually quite enjoy it. It's a huge and worthwhile experience that I've gained that wouldn't have happened without supply work.

CON - on days you haven't got an advanced booking you have to get up and get sorted like you're going to work just in case they phone to book you for emergency cover. I don't mind getting up but it can be a pain waiting around for a phone call.

PRO - you can make contacts. If like me you're taking up supply work whilst something else comes along it's a great way to find out if there are any jobs in schools. You can also make contacts for future supply work. If you've enjoyed it tell the person who is in charge of feeding back to your agency, chances are they'll ask for you personally next time they need a supply worker.

CON - traveling can be a pain. If like me you don't drive you'll definitely be faced with early mornings and having to take a couple of busses to get to work. You need to prepare yourself for this as more often than not you'll get phoned about a job the night before they want you to go or in some cases even in the morning that they need you.

PRO - you just might find something you love that you would never have considered doing. As I said earlier, I take on any work offered whether it's really what I want to do in the future or not. My first booking was a long term contract (in fact I'm still there) and it wasn't something I'd ever considered doing, it turns out I enjoy it loads. So you never know what pleasant surprises you may get along the way.

CON - you'll have bookings you don't enjoy. Not all surprises are good ones and you will be sent places you don't enjoy it's just the nature of supply work. It's difficult when you're only in one place for a day and you've had to rush to get there if it was an emergency booking. But just do your job the best you can and think of the money!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

SAVING MONEY: 10 Inexpensive Date Ideas for Autumn/Winter

OK so all the ideas aren't dates as such it's more of  10 inexpensive things to do in autumn and winter as a couple but that title was kinda long!
  1. Enjoy an indoor picnic - I've spoken before of my love of indoor picnics here. I personally find something really enjoyable about getting together loads of nibbles and setting it out like a picnic indoors. Light a few candles, put on a film and crack open a drink and you're sorted.
  2. Go for a walk - I love walks at any time of the year but there's something a bit more special about wrapping up in warm layers and walking amongst the crunchy leaves in the winter sunshine.
  3. Enjoy a themed movie night - I wrote this one mainly with Halloween in mind. Last year Josh and I planned a movie night on Halloween with a couple of scary films, some spooky snacks and a few candles and Halloween lanterns. This would also work well with Christmas films. 
  4. Go and explore - How well do you know the village/town/city that's right next to the one you live in? If the answer is not very well go out an explore it! Villages make the perfect backdrop for the walk a mentioned earlier and cities often have loads of free things to do.
  5. Grab a coffee - or whatever other hot drink you like! Weekly Starbucks and Costa's can get expensive but try just reserving them for a treat. Go out on a lazy Sunday afternoon and grab a hot drink and just take the time to catch up with each other. Plus we all know that the best drinks come out in winter. Gingerbread latte anyone?!
  6. Do a pub quiz - preferably in the cosiest  pub you can find. You know the ones with a few exposed beams here and there, low ceilings and maybe even a fire crackling in the corner. Pub quizzes tend to only be a couple of pounds (if that) to enter and you don't have to go mad with the drinking either especially if you're watching the pennies.
  7. Attend a market - Christmas markets spring up here there and everywhere through out November and December. Granted some are a lot better than others so do a little research first especially before you pay out for petrol and parking or bus and train fares to get to a market. 
  8. Cook together - winter calls for big hearty casseroles, stews and pies so why not try making a warming winter meal together from scratch. If you can of course tolerate each others presence in the kitchen that is!
  9. Seasonal activities - These next for months are packed with events, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year. There's lots of stuff you can do together that doesn't have to cost a lot of money from carving pumpkins, reliving your childhood and enjoying sparklers out in the garden, putting up Christmas decorations and baking Christmas goodies. 
  10. Stay in - Of course not all days have to be spent actually doing something. Some of the best days turn out to be those you spend wrapped in a blanket, drinking mugs of hot chocolate, watching episode after episode of your favourite shows and just catching up. Sometimes it's just too cold and miserable to want do anything else. 


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Need to Read #3

I'm back with another lot of books that are on my book wishlist. 

Me Before You // The Historian // For One More Day // Once (and the other books in the series Then, Now and After) // Shantaram // The Children's Book

My top picks from this list are Once (and all the other books in the series) and The Historian.

Let me know if you've read any of these books and what books you've being loving reading lately.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My favourite time of the day

My favourite time of the day usually occurs sometime between 8 and 10 in the evening depending on whether I'm with Josh or not. It's that moment when I can completely switch off from the day and get lost in a film or a book. Nothing beats that moment where I feel completely relaxed and switched off from the world. 

If I'm on my own then it's always a book, I hate watching films on my own I don't know why. Is that a bit weird?! Anyway I've recently being re-reading all the Harry Potter books and I'm currently on the 5th one - The Order of the Phoenix but I love nothing better than snuggling in bed and getting lost in a book. It really relaxes me and I love how a good book can whisk you away to new places and allow you to meet new people. It can get a little bit bad though when I need to go to sleep but I can't put the book down!

When I'm with Josh we usually like to relax with a film. We usually grab something to snack on, pull on our pj's and make a duvet den. As we spend the most time together on a weekend these kind of nights have become something to look forwards to all week.

I'm definitely all for relaxing nights in over nights out!


Monday, 6 October 2014

BEAUTY: A Big Wishlist

I'd normally rather spend my money on clothes than beauty. New look and Primark hauls exciting me more than Boots hauls. However there's quite a few beauty things I've being lusting after lately. My skin is just awful at the moment and I don't know why so I'd really like some products that'll sort it out, I've used the moisturiser before and I think I'm going to have to make a return to it in the hopes that it'll balance my skin out. 

My nails are awful for breaking and nail polish doesn't last two minutes on me. I've started using a couple of products to try and help my weak nails out but I'd really like to try the above two products to give them an extra boost.

I really don't need anymore makeup I have too much already but these three Soap and Glory products have really caught my eye. I am actually getting ready for some new foundation as I'm coming to the end of my Garnier BB Cream and as much as I've liked it I want to give something else a go and after I look around I think it's going to be the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum that makes its way into my makeup bag.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Happy List #107 The September 2014 Edition

Pink skies / Indoor picnic / Tartan blanket scarf / I baked a cake for Josh because I'm good like that! / New bag / Frozen yogurt with Oreo's and strawberries / Striped goodness

 In September I...
Listened to: Fitz and the Tantrums - The Walker. On Repeat. All the time
Read: Steadily making my way through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Watched: Boardwalk Empire season 1 and 2
Ate: Homemade cheesecake and homemade cottage pie

So we're truly in Autumn now and I am very excited. I've said it before but October, November and December are definitely my favourite months. September was a good month, Josh and I got to spend a solid two weeks together when my parents went on holiday which was just about the best thing ever. I also finally got a new camera after mine broke back in July, it's super tiny but it's actually a really really good camera. Things on the job front also looked up in September when I finally got some supply work which is also long term, I've been there a week so I'm imagining I'll have another couple of weeks left there. It's in a secondary school which if you'd said to me a few months ago I'd be working in a secondary school I'd have laughed then probably gone into a state of panic but it turns out that I'm actually really enjoying it. 

Things to look forwards to in October: Halloween, toffee apples and bringing out the cosy tartan scarf.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

FILMS: What We Watched #2

Our usual weekend routine usually consists of watching a couple of films. There's nothing we like more on a Friday and Saturday evening then getting in our pj's, grabbing some snacks and a drink (or maybe just a hot chocolate!) and watching a film. We have quite a Blu Ray collection these days but the same thing happens every weekend in that we can never decide what to watch. 
We thought we'd start sharing with you what films we watch each month and our thoughts on each film.
 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 
2001 | 208 min extended edition | Fantasy / Action / Adventure
J: The opening movie to one of the best cinema sagas of all time (after Star Wars, of course). While the theatrical version was great as it was, the extended version adds so much more depth to the opening charter of the story. While it starts a little slow it soon builds up as the fellowship come together to destroy the evil forces of Mordor. Coincidentally this is the only movie to actually contain all of the fellowship in the same place and alive. Also these movies are an amazing advert for New Zealand. That place looks gorgeous!

L: This film focuses on setting up all the story lines that are to emerge in the next two films. Although having said that it certainly isn't short on action and certainly does keep you hooked despite its lengthy running time with Orc battles, the creation of the Uruk-hai and a few injuries and deaths thrown in for good measure. I have to say I find Aragorn easy on the eye too which make this films even easier to watch over and over again (FYI Viggo Mortensen is not as attractive when he not looking like Aragorn, what is all that about?!)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 
2002 | 222 min extended edition | Fantasy / Action / Adventure
J:The difficult middle chapter: no real beginning, no real end, the movie is a much more fast paced and action packed than Fellowship of the Ring. The buildup to the battle of Helms Deep is one of the most intense ever, what with the Uruk-hai screaming and banging their spears in the lightening and the rain, encapsulating the enormity and terror of the approaching storm. Also I can't knock Gollum/Smeagol and his overacting. "What's 'taters', precious? What's 'taters', eh?!"

L: Despite watching this trilogy loads I just cannot decide whether this one or the final film is my favourite so I think after all this time its going to have to be a draw. Even though there's a lot of characters in the films, each one is fully explored and the length of the films allows for detailed stories for each character. I do love a good Orc/Uruk-hai battle and this film has a pretty good one in it. Also Gollum does make me laugh at times and certainly lifts the mood of what overall is a dark film.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2003 | 250 min extended edition | Fantasy / Action / Adventure
J: The final (and longest) instalment, this movie is the culmination of the trilogy. It also features one of the biggest and most expansive battles seen in a movie, and I defy you not to get tingles down your spine as the music swells and thousands of horse back riders charge head long into the awaiting army of orcs. There is a good half an hour of material after the Ring is destroyed, however after such a long and epic adventure it seems only right to have a slow wind down. Not going to lie, really looking forwards to being able to sit down and watch both The Hobbit trilogy and The Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back! What a way to waste a day!
L: My favourite character in the trilogy has to be Sam and although there's loads of time over the previous two films that I end up feeling sorry for him this one really breaks my heart! Also there's another amazing battle which is always a winner for me. The end of the film is very sweet and ends the dark somewhat tragic trilogy in a happy but slightly bittersweet way.

2012 | 138 min | Drama
J: When you look at the premise of the movie it's not great. A plane crashes, the pilot turns out to be a drunk and has to deal with it. Pretty bland stuff. But it turned out to be a really good movie. Denzel Washington puts in a great performance, playing a tragic character that, despite his flaws, you can sympathize with him. Oh and John Goodman steals each and every scene he's in. Though I still can't help thinking 'Fred Flintstone' whenever I see him...
L: Josh watched this last year to review it for a uni project and the whole idea didn't really wow me but I decided to give it ago too and we've now watched this a few times. OK so it isn't the most groundbreaking film ever but it certainly is worth watching. Denzel Washington is amazing as Whip Whitaker, a troubled pilot who lands a plane after multiple in flight failures. Despite Whip's less than angelic lifestyle you can't help but feel for him and be on his side. John Goodman small but very funny part in the film in a big plus point too.

The Woman in Black 
2012 | 95 min | Horror
J: A throwback to a time when horror movies were more of an art form. The intricate suspense and the lack of actually seeing anything too scary makes it all the more scary. The setting is mysterious and the premise seems pretty fresh compared to what else is out there. And Harry Potter's good in it too.
L: Oh I do love this film. I love horror films but I'd got a bit fed up of the stupidity and predictability of some films. When we went to see this I couldn't believe how good it was. It returns to the old fashioned Hammer Horror way of doing things without all the blood, gore and dumb teenagers. Daniel Radcliffe plays a good part though I'm afraid he'll always be Harry Potter to me. There's a sequel coming up so I've got everything crossed it's just as good.

 I Am Legend
2007 | 100 min | Science Fiction / Horror
J: This has become a movie we watch at least once or twice a year, and I'm not sure why. It's kind of scary, kind of actiony, there's zombies and a decent story, but nothing groundbreaking here. Yet it's still a good multiple viewing movie. I just enjoy it for what it is. I suspect Lauren enjoys if because of 'the cute doggy'.

L: We've watched this film loads now but somehow we haven't go bored of it yet. There are a ton of films out there that follow a similar format of some kind of disease wiping out humans and leaving behind zombie like creatures but this one without a doubt does it the best. It's not overly gory and I like that the blame is placed on human's and science as it makes it much more believable. 

If you only watch one of these films it should be...
J: This one's tricky but I think Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers has to take the crown. Just!
L: This is difficult for me this month as really you have to watch all three Lord of the Rings films but I'll go with Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.