Time for a Hair Chop + My Hair Colour Phases… Awkward Pictures Included!

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Before: It’s long it’s ombre and it is a bit of a mess… 

I finally did it and chopped my hair off. I think I and many other women have such odd relationships with hair, hair cuts, and hair colours. Not only do I always want what others have, but especially when I was younger, I always wanted to do new or different things with my hair whenever there was a bit of a life change!

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After: It’s brown, it’s chopped and I love it! 

My hair has been short, long, brown, black, blonde, purple, green, fringed, not fringed, ombred, highlighted and probably many other things, l thought I would reflect on a few of the various phases…

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Yep very blonde, I also used to carry a few more pounds so the face is looking a lot rounder here! 

Bleaching it just wrecks it, I don’t have the time nor the patience to keep up with blonde hair so it just ends up being wrecked but I did keep it blonde from about 16-18. I did like being blonde, I always felt a bit more sunny but even with ombred blonde, it just was not sustainable, so expensive and eventually not worth it!

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Yep it was black, apologies for the terrible picture quality, my phone was basic in those days! 

Black hair was a definite phase in my life – mainly when I lived in America and whenever I felt like being a bit rebellious as it seems everyone in my family did not like the black hair colour. I can see that it is a bit harsh on my skin tone but I think everyone has a hair colour which they love but in reality is not the best option.

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A bit of a darker brown here with a fringe!

I’ve been every shade of brown, but my natural is quite a mid brown which I am beginning to embrace! I probably have natural brown hair for the first time since I started dying my hair about 9 years ago. For a long time, I thought it was boring but I am starting to embrace the brown! It is obviously easy to upkeep but I think it does compliment my skin without washing me out.

Odd colours, this was also a definite phase, the need to put crazy colours in my hair was a teenager thing. I do still get the odd urge to put pink or purple in but I have realised that this always only looks good for about a day, is hard to sustain and in a corporate job is just not going to happen! Can we also please reflect for a moment of the time I dyed my hair orange? Yep the joys of being 15!

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Anyway, I was just reflecting after my hair cut, I am loving the chop, my hair feels so light and so much less straggly! Hopefully going to keep it this way for awhile. I also hope you appreciated a few pictures from the more awkward phases in my life, I definitely feel a lot more confident in  my twenties compared to my teens! What’s your fave hair colour? Do you have odd relationships with colours like I do? Did you dye your hair orange at 15?

JC xx

September Lifestyle Favourites!

September has been a lovely month! The weather has finally started getting a bit cooler which I actually appreciate – I get too hot and uncomfortable in the summer. September is always a busy month with my mums and sisters birthday, then it is a downhill slide to my birthday and then Christmas (which I’m already excited for!). Lifestyle faves are a going to be a new regular feature on the blog, where I reflect on my favourite food, events, travel and products from the month!

1. Boris Bikes

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I hadn’t biked for years before we went off to Prague a few months ago. After gaining a bit of confidence on the bike, Paul and I have been out on the Boris Bikes around London which I have been really enjoying. It’s surprising how easy it is to get around London, especially to places which don’t have a tube or train station nearby, plus it’s good to get a bit more exercise. We have been up and around South London but we went to Battersea Park last weekend which was lovely, including a trip to a nearby delicious restaurant called Source. I really want to get my own bike next year so I can do some more riding!

2. Cooking

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Ever since moving in with Paul I have loved cooking so much more. Even though I tend to get home from work quite late I have been enjoying making quick yummy meals and blogging about them! I even bought a few new recipe books this month – really liking Jamie Olivers Save with Jamie. I have even managed to do a bit of baking, I made a carrot cake below and even though my scales broke as soon as I got them out and I had to guess the amounts of everything, it turned out quite delicious!

3. Great British Bake Off

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Carrying on the baking theme, I have been obsessed with GBBO this season. It’s just such good watching, entertaining and pleasant – a nice change to American Horror Story which I have just finished! It makes me want to keep baking and I have loved reading all the blogs who have been baking along with the series.

4. Recent Reads: Revelation by C J Sanson, The Circle by David Eggars

I have been doing a long commute lately so have been getting few a lot of books! I might start doing a few book reviews but at the moment I have really enjoyed these two. Revelation is based on a lawyer who is investigating a series of murders in the time of Henry the eighth. I find these books so well written and enjoyable, I’m never able to guess what will happen. There are a few in the series and I have enjoyed them all.

The Circle is based on a large tech company, similar to Google and of a girls experience once she joins. The company gets more and more obsessed with tech and not hiding anything from the rest of the world, until everyone needs cameras on their necks. It’s an interesting read and makes the need for privacy very clear!

5. Maybelline 7 Day Gel Nail Colour

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I wrote a whole post raving about these colours but I do love them. I picked up another shade – porcelain and it is a lovely pearl metallic kind of shade. And like the others, a week and it has not budged! I feel as though I will picking these up for awhile!

What have your lifestyle faves been this month?

JC xx

PS only a couple of weeks left in my giveaway of an eyeshadow palette so make sure you check it out here! 

Healthy Asian Mince Recipe!

It’s time to get back in the kitchen and I thought I would share a mince recipe which I use at least once a week! This is just a great way to give some asian and fresh flavours to mince which I then use in many different ways. I quite like them as koftas which I put into pita bread but it is also delicious in a burger, in a meatball salad, in a meatball po-boy style sandwich or as a rissole. This was originally inspired by a Jamie Oliver burger recipe many years ago when I first started cooking!

I also tend to mix this up depending on what I have in the fridge and on my spice rack. I went through a huge phase of never cooking so it is nice to start building up my pantry stock, it’s starting to get so much cheaper to cook during the week.

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In this case I was making a kofta salad for the two of us so the ingredients you will need are:

  • Lean mince – Sainsburys sell a little 250g pack which is great for two
  • Garlic – 2 cloves or the crushed equivalent
  • 1 tsp Harissa or red pepper paste
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Big handful fresh coriander
  • Tzatziki
  • Any kind of salad you like!

This is quick and easy, we are going throw everything together then form them into patties. First I throw the mince into a bowl, then I don’t tend to measure the spies but I have tried to guess them for the ingredients list. I suggest giving it a try and then tweaking in the future – cumin and coriander are by far my favourite flavours so I throw a whole bunch of those in! Here is the mince, cumin, chilli and coriander.

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I then dollop the garlic and the harissa. I think having crushed garlic in the fridge is the easiest cooking cheat ever – I just wouldn’t use it otherwise. This way I can throw a heap of garlic into everything – one of my favourite flavours! Harissa is great with giving some depth of flavour but I like using red pepper paste sometimes too.

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Then time to get the hands dirty and mix it all together. It just will not work with a spoon, you really need everything to meld together then to shape it – this case into pattie form. I then decide whether to add soy sauce, I usually add a dollop but if it’s looking a bit wet then I leave it out. If you do find your mix is a bit wet then add a few breadcrumbs.

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You can fry them – usually takes about 10-15 minutes, or you bake or grill in the same amount of time.

I then dollop a huge bunch of tzatziki on top – which is odd as I hate cucumber but I am in love with this sauce. It is delicious, easy to use and really adds to the flavours.

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I just threw these on some salad and served with some boiled potatoes to round it off.

A few weeks ago I made the same mince but popped it into pita bread with the tzatziki and some hummus to round it off. I served with some tender stemmed broccoli and it was warm enough to eat on the balcony!

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So if you are looking for an easy mince recipe then give this a go – let me know what you include in your staple mince recipes!

JC xx

PS I have a giveaway running for the eyeshadow palette of your choice! Check it out here.

Top London High Teas – The Ritz!

I love me some afternoon tea. Getting dressed up and heading out to a fancy hotel to eat tiny sandwiches, scones and cakes is one of the best things to do. You always think there isn’t that much when it comes out but without a doubt I have left every afternoon tea feeling stuffed! I have been to a few afternoon teas over the past year so I thought I would start a little series going through the great ones I have been to in London.

The Ritz

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I need to start off with the cream of the crop, to me the Ritz is the ultimate High Tea destination. It just rings glitz and glamour and is such a London staple. I bought this afternoon tea as a birthday present for my sister last year, so earlier in February we got glammed up and headed over to Green Park for a wander over to the Ritz. First off the building itself is amazing – it has a restaurant, casino and a jewellery shop on the front which we peered into, then headed round the corner for the main entrance.

The best bit about this afternoon tea is the setting, it is the grand parlour and is an amazing gold, mirrored hall. The tables were perfectly dressed with silver and a live piano player tinkled away in the background – not only playing the classics but some pop music, a great take on Adele! The tables were beautifully set and there was an amazing floral centrepiece which I didn’t get a picture of!

 

 

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They had a wide selection of teas which came out in large silver teapots topped with lions. All the waiters were men dressed in old school waiters outfits which I quite liked. I had a lovely peppermint tea but of course they had every kind of tea imaginable and you had a good chance to smell the tea before you chose one. You can see the amazing silver and teacups below.

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Of course the food was traditional, finger sandwiches with all the classics, cucumber and cream cheese (not a fave), ham and mustard, egg and cress, chicken and mayo and cheese and branston. All delicately cut with the crusts removed just how I like them. Then scones – a plain and a sweet raisin with some delicious jam and cream. The best bit about this afternoon tea was that the sandwiches were refreshed quite often! I was stuffed before I even got to the cakes, which included all the best macaroons, vanilla slices and large cakes they brought around and cut you a slice. You definitely get a huge amount of food so make sure you go on an empty stomach!

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I loved all the food and was completely full up by the time we had finished. I then went for a little wander round the entrance hall and bathrooms which were all amazing. Traditional pink powder rooms with couches and huge tasselled curtains were a great find. I wish I could go back to stay there as I imagine the rooms are very impressive.

Overall I really recommend heading out to The Ritz, however probably for when you have a special occasion as it is £105 for two which is very steep! But you get the quality you pay for and it’s an experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

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Here is a picture of us feeling stuffed at the end of our afternoon tea! For reference my sparkly dress was from Dorothy Perkins and my original lipstick was Rimmel Kates 101 which is my favourite deep red for winter.

Have you been out to The Ritz? Any afternoon teas you recommend in London?

JC xx

PS I have a giveaway running for an eyeshadow palette of your choice! Check it out here.

My Skincare Experiment: No More Cleansing

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My skin care experiment for the next couple of months is as I said in the title – I’m going to stop washing my face. I’m going to take away almost all of my facial products, no cleansers, double cleansers, toners, exfoliants, night creams, face masks, foundations, BB creams or anything else I put on my skin. I will still be washing my face with water in the shower!

Why?

I should probably explain a little about why I want to do this. Ever since I started blogging I have been more and more tempted to start getting new facial products, I read a lot about skin care routines and see a lot of product reviews. It then seemed to hit me after watching a particular video where a blogger used about 6 products on their face in their evening routine, but still had bad skin, that maybe all these products aren’t the answer!

I think as women we face a quandry. As a teenager when we start getting spots, we pile on foundation. That foundation probably gives you more spots, so we now need to cleanse to get rid of the foundation to stop it giving us those spots, but the cleanser we use strips the skin of all it’s good aspects – the oil and texture. So now we need to put it back in and sort out our pH so we put a toner on and a moisturiser.
Then one day someone realised that because we wear so much on our face all the time, our skin doesn’t slough off as it should, so now we should exfoliate to get this skin off instead. Then some very smart marketing expert came up with serums, eye creams, facial oils and a plentitude of other products that I need to put in the aspects of my skin which I’m stripping away.
Ever wonder why some people get oily skin over time? Your skin needs oil, you continually wipe it off, your skin isn’t smart, it will make more oil to replace it, then you have oily skin and you need to buy ten products to fix that.

Now you might think that I am being a bit cynical but I really think this is the case for many people. When I was young in my teen years, I was lucky in that I didn’t get any spots really. The occasional small red bump was about the worst of it, so I never really got into make up. I think I bought my first concealer at about 17! However, now at 22, and blogging and buying new products which I love using, my skin is freaking out! Not only have I been getting more spots but they are painful and deep under my skin, I know that there are many things which could be causing this and that is why it’s time for an experiment.

How?

So that is what I’m going to do, all I am going to use on my face is one moisturiser – the simple daily facial moisturiser with SPF 30 (I have worn SPF since I was about 13 so don’t think that is the problem), one concealer which I will use very sparingly under the eyes and dabbed onto any blemishes, and eye make up remover – I have just purchased this Garnier one which is working really well – just on a tissue to wipe my eyes at the end of the day. I will obviously still wash my face with water in the shower as I always have! I don’t wear much else on my skin either, but I’m going to leave blush and highlighter to a minimum – only for special occasions!

I’m going to try this for a few months as we all know changes on the face will take awhile to take affect – I’m also not ruling out that it’s my hormones so hopefully doing it for awhile will prove this either way. I will keep you updated on my progress!

Disclaimer: Obviously this does not apply to everyone – I know a lot of people have acne and rely heavily on products to fix that which is totally justified and probably not fixed by taking those products away! But for the rest of us with just good old normal skin, I think this may make a difference.

Maybe the answer for good skin, is putting that product down instead of picking another one up.

Let me know what you think!

JC xx

PS My giveaway is still running for an eyeshadow palette! You can enter it here.

A Bit of a Blog Slump, Time for a Shake Up..

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I’ve been blogging now for 6 whole months and it has certainly been a learning curve! I originally wanted to write about everything and anything on this blog, what I did, where I went and what I liked and I think I have kept that theme going over the past 80 odd posts. However, in the past month or so along with starting a new and much busier job, I have been feeling a little off with the blog – I got into a blog slump.

I think I got a bit swept up in it all, there are so many blogs out there with so many ideas and cover every topic imagineable that I started comparing myself to them. Suddenly my little blog didn’t live up to the expectations I had of it. So I tried to change my blog to fit in more, posting more about beauty as those posts seemed more popular, posting like clockwork 3 times a week and not putting as much personality into my posts as I used to. I pressured myself into blogging for followers rather than blogging for myself! I used to have so many ideas for posts but recently I have seen myself pushing ideas out of the way because I was worried what others would think.

So after a pretty lame month and putting up posts that I wasn’t happy with so I could get my 3 posts out a week I realised it was time to shake it up and go back to how I started blogging! So there may not be 3 posts a weeks, there may not be as many beauty posts anymore but I think the posts I do get up will be about things I feel passionately about and will reflect me. I want to go back to being the lifestyle blog I want to be! Expect some new topics, maybe a new design soon and a bit more me in my blog. I’d rather put more time into an interesting post than pump out posts I’m not happy with. I love blogging, the community and the support from all my followers and I want to stay in love with blogging and keep this up for many months to come!

I’d love your opinions on blog slumps, blog pressures and shake ups!

JC xx

 

Weekends Away: Manchester

I am originally from Manchester which means a lot of my family still lives there. Even though I have been many times to visit, most of those trips consisted of seeing family or heading out of town on day trips away. It has only been in the past year or so that I have finally been exploring Manchester and all the great things it has to offer!

I do think Manchester has a bit of a bad rep, but the council are putting a lot of money into regenerating the centre and surrounds. A weekend away here is a great, wallet friendly option!

Getting there:

The best way to get to Manchester is the train – Virgin runs about 5 trains an hour between London and Manchester and they take at the most 2 hours. It is by far the comfiest and least stressful option! The prices for the train can rise pretty heavily, especially around peak times but if you book far enough in advance and can be a bit more flexible in times then it can be affordable.

Other travel options are driving – which takes forever and involves a lot of sitting in traffic, or the bus which like driving takes about 5-6 hours in total!

Things to do:

As this has been several weekends away in Manchester rather than just one, I thought I would run through my top favourite places to visit – then pick and choose depending on the amount of time you have!

Manchester City Centre and Town Hall
The centre of Manchester has changed so much since I was little! It now how it’s own distinct areas, the gay village, down to deansgate, the northern quarter – and they all deserve a visit! When we were there they had some Manchester guides with maps who guided us to a walk along the canal which was very enjoyable. I recommend finding the town hall as well as it is a beautiful building and there is usually some events on!

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Museum of Science and Industry
This museum is a gem in Manchester – not only is it free but it will keep you entertained all day. This is a huge museum which focuses on manchesters role in science and industry through the years. They have two huge warehouses, one dedicated to engines and trains and one dedicated to flight. These along with a lovely and cheap cafe make it a really nice day or afternoon out in the city.

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John Rylands Library
This library is tucked away on deansgate and from the outside you wouldn’t guess the amazing interior. I was honestly so impressed with this library, it is one of the most beautiful building I have been in. It has a couple of exhibits of old and rare books and drawings but the main draw card is the central reading room. This is a huge gothic library straight from a hundred years ago. It has such mystique and as soon as I entered it made me feel as though I could have been living all those years ago. This library is open for all, not just visitors but those who want to study or read. If I was studying in Manchester then I don’t think I would ever leave! I took a few pictures but it was hard to catch the true beauty because of the light!

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Lowry Centre
Lowry was one of manchesters famous artists who I think is fantastic. Here you can see a huge collection of his work which even though I am not the biggest fan of art galleries, enjoyed a wander around.

Christmas Markets
This Christmas markets in Manchester are famous and rightly so! They are huge, filled to the brim with little chalets of goodies and presents. I ate chocolate donuts and drank warm cider whilst wandering about. This market has real atmosphere and it gets me so excited for Christmas! I know it is still a long way away but if you have chance to go to these markets then I really recommend it!

There are my top places to visit in Manchester! I’m also a big fan of a lot of the stately homes in the area – chatsworth, Dunham Massey, Tatum park etc but I think they are deserving of their own post!

Have you been to Manchester? What would you recommend? :)

JC xx

PS I have a giveaway running to win an eyeshadow palette of your choice! Check it out here.