Thursday, 30 April 2015


Current Situation • Motivation • Cutest Mug Ever • Reading and Listening • Urban Jungle • Spring Tulips • Homemade Granola with Cherries and Pistachios • Obligatory Magnolia • Tegs Loving the Beach • Easter • Hair Goals • Netflix for Breakfast • Catching Up • Kingley Vale • Salem is Life • Stormy Seas and Blue Skies

Hello all! So much for April showers, eh? I think this has been the loveliest sunniest warmest April for a long time. And, as you can probably see, I've spent the majority of my time out and about exploring the great outdoors. There's also the regular intervals of delicious breakfast shots of pastries with plenty of tea but the less said about those the better!

So yes, the amazing weather has totally encouraged me to get outside. This is where having a dog comes in handy because not only do you HAVE to go out every day, but you're constantly on the lookout for new and exciting places to go on dog walks. A couple of weeks ago we drove to West Stoke and tackled Kingley Vale. I was so up for it - sometimes you just really fancy a long walk, you know - but I didn't realise it was basically 4 miles of steep uphill climbs. So fun. My legs were killing but oh my goodness, the views were totally worth it. When we got to the top you could see for miles and it was beautifully clear too. I definitely want to go again but it proved to me just how unfit I am, oh dear...

And, of course, living five minutes away from the beach obviously means walks lead to the shore. We kind of avoid the beach because Tegs gets so messy, but she had her Spring haircut and bath this month so I decided to take her to the beach beforehand and she just adores it. She doesn't like the ocean and getting wet but she loves running along the beach - most of the time in circles - and chasing all the seabirds. She's also known to drink from the rock pools which I do not advise! Either way, beach walks are a rare treat and I enjoy them just as much as my dog.

I also love how Spring has truly sprung and there are blossoms e v e r y w h e r e. I don't think I've made it day through April scrolling through my Instagram feed without seeing a photo of some kind of pink or white blossom. I think I liked them all too. It just makes me feel so happy. That, and all the pretty tulips about (granted, mostly in the supermarkets). I can't go to Sainsbury's without picking up a bunch every week now. They last for ages as well, which is so impressive to me. What are your favourite Spring flowers? 

Finally, this month called for a catch-up with one of my best friends. She lives and studies in Swansea so we don't see each other too often, but we've been friends since we were 13 so we always make the effort. I love hanging out with her because we tend to chat about everything and anything, and it makes the time go by so quickly. Pancakes and coffee were much needed so we met at our favourite place in the local village. Every time she visits we always go for pancakes - it's basically our tradition now. And we always seem to get whatever the other is having... I guess that stops the food envy. We had a lovely catch-up and even decided to plan a trip to Bath in the Summer. Very excited about that! We're going to be proper tourists and I just know that it'll be fab!

Next stop: May...

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Are you ready for the cutest mugs you have ever seen in your whole life?

As soon as I saw the name of these adorable things - Muggsie - I knew I had to own at least one of them. For those of you who don't know (and that may be quite a few of you as it's not really common knowledge), my nickname since high school has been Hugsieee. There's not long story behind its origins, but I remember it being given to me by a guy I really fancied at the time so I knew it would stick! Oh god, how embarrassing, haha! Anyway, that's the mystery behind my Twitter and Instagram accounts solved. I basically saw the name of these mugs and thought it was fate: a muggsie for hugsieee, right?

The Muggsie set comprises of 8 different cute-as-hell kawaii characters to suit any mood. There's jolly, angry, cute, giggly, hungry, sad, sleepy, and in love. Each has an emoticon printed on the front and back of the mug, making it left and right hand friendly - very handy (pun not intended)! All are designed and made in good old Great Britain, durable, long-lasting, and hold a very decent 350ml of liquid. They also have a little unique message printed around the rim. I went for the Jolly Muggsie because I need to feel the happy vibes when I'm sipping on my coffee in the morning! The rim reads: "today I feel... jolly. I'm going to have a wonderful day." Gosh, it's so adorable and oozes positivity! I'm really tempted to build up a collection now. I love the giggly Muggsie too!

Now for the best bit. Qtique have provided me with a discount code to share with you lovely lot. This code will give you 10% off any order on the Qtique website, and may I recommend checking out their Alphabetty collection too? I've got my eye on the Ampersand mug myself! 

10% off any order with the discount code: muggsie10

Muggsie mugs retail at £19 each, and are available from the Qtique website.

Friday, 17 April 2015


Damn, I love granola. It's super versatile, promising a different breakfast every time, and I seriously love that. I hate to be bored with my breakfasts. Often I find something I like and stick to it until I'm sick of the sight of it - I won't tell you the details about my strawberry jam on toast phase last summer - but this homemade granola is so easy and keeps really well, ensuring that a delicious varied breakfast is only a Kilner jar away.

(serves 6)
300ml cloudy apple juice
150g organic oats
10g flaked almonds
15g dried cranberries
35g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, bring the apple juice to the boil and simmer until two-thirds has evaporated. You should be left with a much more syrupy liquid and this will take around 15 minutes to achieve. Add the oats and the flaked almonds, combining until all the liquid has been soaked up. It will look like a very loose flapjack mixture. Pour this out onto the baking tray and spread it thinly. I think it's best to fluff it up a bit with a spoon so you get certain bits that catch and brown quicker - it adds extra flavour! Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven, or until you can see the edges browning. Take it out and turn the granola with a spatula, sprinkling the dried fruit on top. Bake for a further 5 minutes, longer if you desire a darker, more toasty, colour. If you can stand it, allow your granola to cool before you chow down.

We store ours in a small Kilner jar and this exact amount fills it comfortably. The granola will keep for up to two weeks in storage but I'm almost certain you'll finish it within a few days and be well on your way to making another batch or two!

And here comes the versatility... You can add whatever you like to these basic ingredients. I went for flaked almonds, dried cranberries and sultanas in this recipe - it tastes lovely and is not overly sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, however, try adding a drizzle of honey or some golden syrup. If you want more of a crunch to your granola, add some wholesome seeds like flax, chia, pumpkin and sunflower. If you fancy more fruit, add some mixed berries or coconut shavings. And of course, if you fancy a nuttier flavour any toasted nuts will work wonderfully.

How you serve your granola is your personal preference. It would do great as a cereal on its own with skimmed or almond milk, or you can use it sparingly (you won't want to, I'm sure) and top with yoghurt or fruit compote. My personal favourite right now is granola topped with natural yoghurt, glacé cherries and chopped pistachios, mmm!

This is such a good recipe to prepare in advance to make sure that you're grabbing something healthy and filling before heading out to work during the week. It makes life so much easier knowing that breakfast is already pretty much prepared.

How do you like your granola?

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


W A N D E R L U S T (noun) 
A strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

I'm not a huge traveller, purely because I haven't had the opportunity or the money to do so. I've only ever been on a plane once in my lifetime - a 3-hour flight to Portugal in 2008 - but as I get older I'm getting the travel bug more and more. And I thought a little wanderlust couldn't hurt anyone, so here are a few places that I would love to tick off my travel bucket list.

Bath, United Kingdom
I know, it's not even out of the country so is it really considered wanderlust? I just love the beautiful architecture of the city and the historical context that goes with it. I guess that goes for places like Winchester and Salisbury too, as they have a very similar vibe - and similar cathedrals. Somerset in general is quite lovely, especially in the summer, and I'm actually planning a long weekend away to Bath at some point this year so hopefully this one will be ticked off the list very soon.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Well, if Amy's (The Little Magpie) latest travel series doesn't convince you to travel to Reykjavik I don't know what will. I'm much more at home in colder climates, and would rather be too cold than too hot, so Iceland has been on my hit list for a long time. Plus, having the once-in-lifetime opportunity to go on the Northern Lights Tour would be just fantastic. Snow, mountains and geysers galore? Where's my passport?

Mykonos, Greece
A complete 180 to Iceland, Mykonos is one of the only hot destinations I would love to explore. Everything just looks so gorgeous and exotic. The traditional white-stone houses, cool patterned alleyways, azure skies and crystal waters... Oh gosh, I can just imagine myself relaxing in an infinity pool with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Every time I hear Mykonos by Fleet Foxes I'm constantly reminded that this beautiful place exists and I need to see it for myself. A real lazy holiday in the sunshine. I think I'm owed that much!

Prague, Czech Republic
Something has always fascinated me about Prague. I'm not entirely sure what it is. As I get older I'm much more inclined to visit a European city as opposed to somewhere uncomfortably unfamiliar - Prague seems like it would be a home away from home. And I may also be a lover of BBC's version of The Musketeers, which was and is currently being filmed there.

Milan, Italy
Ahhh Milan... I desperately want to pay a visit to the infamous Duomo di Milano and travel everywhere by bicycles. It would be a photographer's paradise, and very Instagram-worthy! Just imagine the majesty of the Milan Cathedral, taking the lift up to the roof and admiring the stunning views. I want to see and do everything a tourist might endeavour to do. From visiting attractions like the Teatro alla Scala (Opera House) and the 1930s time capsule of the Villa Necchi Campiglio, to (window) shopping in Milan's upscale shopping district known as the Golden Rectangle. And, of course, I want to eat all the fresh authentic Italian pizza I can get my hands on - that is of the utmost importance, no?

Paris, France
What 20-something young woman doesn't want to go to the fashion capital of the world? I feel like Paris is calling out to me, I can practically smell the freshly baked pastries from here. All the tourist spots would be hit at least once, and I would spend my days in cafes and art galleries, ready to capture every moment and pretend I lead the perfect Parisian life. Pah! If only!

United States of America
Yes, the whole of it. I want to visit every state if I can, and considering there's a lot of them I better get started as soon as possible! Of course, I would love to spend some time in New York and do all the touristy activities; I want to hit up Las Vegas, run riot in California, explore Kentucky, traipse Texas... You get it. The Route 66 road trip sounds incredibly appealing, obviously stopping off at every fast food place imaginable. I think I would need to prepare myself to put on a load of weight during my time there. Seriously, IHOP, In-N-Out, Taco Bell, I'm coming for you guys!

I would love to know which countries are the top of your list to visit, or if you've visited any of the places on my own list! Please do tell me your experiences and whether you have any recommendations as to places to eat and see!
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