Friday, February 27, 2015

UNIVERSITY OOTD


 Jumper: Topshop
Shirt: Hollister, years ago! 
Jeans: Topshop Joni Tall
Rings: Accessorise, Pandora

Todays very casual, comfy and layered outfit of the day for university. Love this kind of layering because it looks like I've put a lot more effort getting ready in the morning, when really all I've done is grab a shirt and a jumper and shoved them on for warmth, because it's still freezing! Where are you Spring/Summer?! I do like how there has been a bit of sunshine the past couple of days though, although it's still baltic, the sunshine just lifts my mood straight away!

Also tried out the L'oreal Match Perfection foundation teamed with the Real Techniques makeup sponge and on first application I was very much impressed! We'll see how well it lasts throughout the day then I may perhaps do a little review, because so far I'm loving it!

Hope you're having a lovely Friday!

Alison xx

Thursday, February 26, 2015

MINI LUNCHTIME HAUL






So today I popped into town after university to pick up the L'oreal Match Perfection foundation as I really wanted a change, and the Real Techniques makeup sponge. because I'd heard a lot of good things about it. Turns out I ended up coming home with a lot more than I intended on buying...
I picked up this Revlon blush as I could do with a new blush and this is just a shade pinker than my favourite blush by Mac, Gingerly, so I thought I'd give it a try for the Summer months. I also picked up Revlon Vixen as a repurchase because it's my favourite nail varnish, like ever.

I had a quick pop into Primark because it was pretty empty at that time of day and I can never bear it when it's busy. I didn;t have a proper look becuase I didn't aim to spend too much, and I needed to get home and do some work. While speedily walking around I managed to pick up two lovely sets of underwear, a Vanilla and Coconut candle (mainly because I thought the pot would be good for storing makeup brushes) a new makeup bag, a brown shoulder bag and a lovely striped top. Oh, I also grabbed one of the matte lipsticks in this very Taylor Swift-esque red! Quite the steal for £1.50 I thought!

So yeah, more impulse, buys, whups! Have you found any lovely bits in Primark recently?

Alison xx

Sunday, February 22, 2015

SUNDAY SUMMARY


The weeks are going scarily quickly this year, it's so strange, I seem to blink and another is over!
I started off the week getting stuck back into uni and catching up on work I missed out on from being ill. The mirror picture is me posing as much as I could for a snapchat in the giant floor to ceiling mirrors in the ladies at my uni campus at Media City, I couldn't resist, those mirror are amazing!
This week also brought pancake day! I looove American pancakes and shared my favorite recipe earlier this week. Although I didn't go all out and have a million different flavours, which I would love to have done, I still thoroughly enjoyed my maple syrup drenched pancakes. I've been induldging perhaps a little too much this week food wise and it's made me feel pretty 'bleurgh', that's the only way to describe it.


However, after some impulse purchases this week I'm planning on detoxing a little and cramming as much fruit and veg into me via smoothies from my new Breville Blend Active smoothie maker! I love it so much, and I'm very much looking forward to trying lot's of healthy recipes next week!

Another impulse buy of the week was The Sims 4 as it finally became available on Mac! I've always loved The Sims and I knew fine well it was a terrible idea to buy it with so many deadlines looming, but I couldn't resist, and I gotta admit, I've been loving it! Other purchases recently included a new outfit from ASOS (shown in this blogpost) and some new frames and a clock for our 'feature wall' in the flat which you can see above. We're slowly but surely filling the wall with both purchased prints and ones we've made ourselves :D

Anyhow, here's to another productive, more healthy and active week next week!

Alison xx

Friday, February 20, 2015

IMPULSE BUYS




 
Today consisted of a quick presentation at university and some impulse buys!
I made a small order on ASOS the other day which also came so I thought I may as well photograph those too.

The top was from Vera Moda and the trousers are New Look Tall. I've been wanting to try some patterned trousers for some time now and I finally took the plunge as I'm deperate for the warm weather to return. I thought I'd ease myself in with these as the pattern isn't too out there and due to the darker colours I think they are quite a nice 'transitional piece' and I can get away with wearing them now as well as more in the summer/autumn time. I absolutely love them and I feel I may be becoming more adventourous and may even buy more in summer, who knows! The top as well is pretty summery but I thought it would go really nicely with the trousers. The fabrics of both are really soft and its a lovely flowly outfit for the warmer months, when you don't want anything restricting and tight when its bloody boiling! I know I'm getting way ahead of myself thinking of summer already but I can't resist, as soon as christmas is over I want it to be warm again!

I've also discovered this Zara bag which I have my eye on and may have to purchase after a pay day or two, cause I really need to start saving! I love it. At first I thought it may be a little too much tassle, but I think I should just be a little adventrous and try to rock it! haha.

So on my way home from uni today I popped into tesco to buy some food for tea tonight and ended up coming out with a Breville Blend Active and a Bobble water bottle as well. I've wanted a smoothie maker for a while, since the Nutri Bullet became all the rage. However, I definitely do not have £100 to spend. The Blend Active is only £30, comes with two bottles, one for me and the other half, and seems to be just as good! I've only had the one smoothie with it so far since I got in but I think it's gonna be a big hit, especially over summer!

The bobble water bottle is also something I've wanted for a while as I'm normally re-using shop bought water bottles and I've heard all the horror stories of the plastic etc etc. This was £10 and the filter re-fills are £5 from Tesco. Considering how much water I drink I just thought it would be an investment, plus it saves me getting up every two minutes to fill my water bottle as its 1L!

Have you guys treated yourselves to any impluse purhcases recently?

Alison xx

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

BEST AMERICAN PANCAKE RECIPE



Personally, the american style pancakes are my favourite, and my all time favourite topping has to be crispy bacon and maple syrup! If you've never tried it and think it sounds disgusting, trust me, don't knock it til you've tried it, its an amazing combination!

In order to make these kinds of pancakes you will need:
  • 135g of plain flour
  • 1teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 2 table spoons of caster sugar
  • 130ml of milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • 2 rashers of bacon 
Place your bacon into a pan or grill to begin cooking so it has plenty time to get nice and crispy if you like it that way.

Then, sift your flour into a bowl, and add your baking powder, salt and caster sugar.

In a measuring jug, measure out your milk and whisk in your egg, before adding to your flour mixture.

Using a whisk or fork, mix together the whole mixture until there are no lumps.

Add your olive oil to a non-stick pan on a medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, begin to add your first pancake. It will seem really thick at first but thats the secret to a really delicious american style pancake!

When complete add your favorite toppings and enjoy! I've also found adding strawberries to this recipie is also really delicious and another contrasting flavour, however, unfortunatley I didn't have any in the house today.

However you like your pancakes, I hope you're having a wonderful pancake day!

Alison xx

MY 10 WAYS TO STAY POSITIVE, MOTIVATED TO GET SH*T DONE


As someone in her third year of university trying to juggle final year projects, a part-time job, a social life,  and a blog, it can be a bit of a struggle to be motivated 24/7. If anything this is a post for me to remind myself how to stay on track, but I hope it may be of help to any of you guys too! Here are my top ten tips: 

1. Take a step back. This although this list is not in a particular order, I do think this is the most important. If you're really struggling to think of that perfect blog post idea, a particular design, or a really interesting point to make in your latest assignment, the best thing to do is step away from whatever you're doing and go do something else. 10-20 minutes of taking your mind off of whatever you were previously working on gives your mind a break and really refreshes you. So when you do go back to your task, you're much more likely to have a brain wave or spot something big that you never noticed before with fresh eyes. Just be sure not to extend the 10-20mins to much more than that and start procrastinating otherwise you're far less likely to carry on with what you were doing and spend the next few hours or even the rest of the day avoiding it all together.

2. Surround yourself with positivity in your workspace. Everybody works differently and prefers different environents so this is up to you, but if you do have a lot of work to do, avoid doing it in bed or on the sofa, save these areas to be used for relaxation, not working. You are far more likely to get work done at a desk, with less distractions around you, so also avoid having too much clutter in your work area. Perhaps have an inspiring/motivational quote or images nearby for when your eyes are wandering and you begin to daydream, these may help bring inspiration and snap you back into what you were doing. Try to have as much natural daylight as possible as, especially on sunny days, this tends to naturally lift your mood.

3. Keep hydrated and snack healthily. I love to constantly have a bottle of water and some other beverage on my desk at all times. Be it a cup of tea or coffee or juice or diet coke. Try to drink more of the water though, as this will automatically benefit you and make you more awake. Also, having a bowl of fruit to snack on throughout the day keeps you from wandering to the fridge and away from the biscuit tin.

4. Get up and get ready. Although it may be tempting to stay in your comfiest pyjamas all day when you have nowhere to go and just plan on getting work done, you are much more likely to be more proactive if you get properly dressed. I don't mean spend hours picking a perfect outfits and doing immaculate makeup, but perhaps just spend that extra 20 minutes to get out of your sweats and into some everyday wear, this makes you feel more motivated as

5. Write to do lits and set small daily goals. Checking things off a to do list is extremely satisfying and spurs you on to continue. But make sure not to set unreasonable daily goals that are almost if not completely impossible because this will just do the opposite and make you feel worse that you've not completed everything you planned. If you feel like it you could even plan rewards for completing certain tasks, such as buying something you've wanted for a long time after completing your dissertation, or going somewhere for a meal or a few drinks after completing a days worth of tasks.

6. Create a feel good playlist. Listening to songs you love spurs you on to do anything, be it run faster, type faster or design faster. But again, this is another one which alters a lot from person to person. For example, I have to listen to music when designing as it raises my mood, however I have to be in dead silence when writing my dissertation because it puts me off and I can't focus.

7. Try to do some form Yoga, Pilates or stretches to clear your mind everday. Be it first thing in the morning, as part of your mid-day break or at the end of the day to relax and begin to switch off. I love doing pilates and find Blogilates on youtube and her monthly calendars amazing. Her best streches for chilling out video *here* is amazing and my favourite to do! This is a great way to take your mind off of everything and execise has been proven to raise your mood due to the release of endorphins! When it comes to stretches though its not vigorous or painful/sweaty, its just purely relaxing and you feel so good afterwards, especially when you begin to notice yourself becoming more and more flexible!

8. Be inspired. its everywhere, the internet, tv, magazines, books, even on the walk to Tesco. You can find ideas for things everywhere, you just gonna be aware. If you're struggling for inspiration, use the time you spend procrastinating to find something that may cause a mini brainwave!

9. Fresh air! If you need a break or are struggling to think, a bit of fresh air does the world of good. Similar to taking a break in general, going for a work clears your mind and can be really refreshing. Even just opening the window of your on a warmer day lifts your mood immediately, the smell of fresh air or freshly cut grass and the sound of bird song is great!

10. Motivate each other. Get your friends/other half/family involve. If they need to be kept motivated as well, work together, send eachother messages if you notice the other beginning to slack or struggle, but watch out, don't be too annoying, that can just make someone struggling to get work done extrememly angry and even more stressed! Be nice about it!

Hope they were some help to you, I'd love to hear yours too!

Alison xx

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SUNDAY SUMMARY

  
VALENTINES FAJITAS! 

This week got off to a pretty crappy start. On Monday evening something in me just turned and I suddenly felt rotten and couldn't keep even water down, sorry for the tmi! It was awful, I couldn't move all night and I had some excruciating pain in my back so didn't sleep at all. Spent all of Tuesday trying to recover in bed as it was my driving test on Wednesday! Thankfully I felt much better on the Wednesday morning, but still not quite 100%, by the time my test was over I was ready to fall into a heap on the sofa and sleep for 24 hours. But, I PASSED! I was so relieved, but couldn't really take it in or celebrate it because my head was just so cloudy and I was still ill and not quite all with it. So, instead, I celebrated passing by eating chips on the sofa under a duvet, and watching Great British Bake Off Comic Relief Special and Charmed from the start on Netflix!

Although it was nice actually giving myself a bit of a break from constantly doing something, there was always somehing in he back of my mind reminding me on how much work I'm not getting done and going to need to catch up on. I guess that must mean I'm a bit of a workaholic? I never thought I was, but I just can't seem to fully switch off and relax, possibly part of the reason I got so ill in the first place.

Thursday was spent catching up on housework and writing to do lists and making a start on some of the work I'm now really rather behind with and still working on feeling better.

On Friday my parents came down to Salford to see me and my sister as it was her birthday Saturday and I work weekends so they came a day early to see both of us as the school my sister teaches in broke up for half term on Thursday. We spent the day in Manchester then went to a pub for an evening meal in Media City in Salford. I was exhausted by the end of the day and just wanted my bed, and the thought of getting up to open the cafe on the weekend made me rather sulky. However when I did get home my boyfriend had some cute little valentines surprises waiting for me, which is extrememly unlike him, trust me! He bought all the ingredients for my favourite meal, fajitas, a bottle of champage, Tanya Burrs book, a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates, and even surprised me with tickets for Box of Light in the Soup Kitchen in Manchester! He did very well, the little cutie, haha. So on Saturday when I finished work we spent the evening at home drinking champagne and in a mexican food/chocolate coma on the sofa, it was wonderful!

Another busy week next week so I'm glad I'm feeling a lot better so I can tackle it!
Hope you had a lovely week and valentines!

Alison xx

Saturday, February 07, 2015

UPDATED WORKSPACE

 So since I've started my final year at university, I wanted to give myself a little motivation to get stuff done, and what other way to do that than to buy pretty things?! It's exactly the same and buying expensive brightly coloured nike trainers and sports bras to motivate you to get to the gym!

I can never get any work done unless I'm sitting at a desk. I've found that through many years of attempting to work on my laptop lying in bed and resorting to watching youtube and netflix instead. If I'm sat at a desk it seems to automatically put me in a working frame of mind, possibly something devloped from my school days, I dont know the actual psychology behind it but I'm sure theres something.

I decied to have a shuffle around the office and spruce up my desk a bit in order to make me much happier to sit at it. After a trip to Ikea to buy a few bits, I bought myself the cute little purple orchid to bring a bit of life and colour to the area.

As an attempt to tidy things up a little I dug out an old empty jar from the kitchen cupboard for my pens, pretty sure that jar was full of pickles in its previous life. The other plant is just an old fake one from Ikea years ago, again just to bring a bit more colour to the area. I stuck up some of the polaroids that I've taken so far to give me something happy to look at when my focus is drifting and added my little 'Alison' candle holder for a little personality. Also, the little origami fortune teller you can see is actually the self promotion I made last year at uni for my degree which I still quite like.

It's only a little desk so I couldnt really get loads on it, plus if it were too cluttered I think I'd just get distracted. I now really kinda look forward to getting up and getting some work done in my new revamped desk area!
I can also spend hours on pinterest looking at different desk inspiration so I'm sure it'll not be long til I've seen something I love and end up changing this all round again!

Hope you love a bit of desk arranging as much as I do!

Alison xx

Friday, February 06, 2015

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

 
I made another short little vlog of what we got up to on Paul's birthday on Sunday. Unfortunately, we were both a little to busy enjoying the day to get a lot of clips so I didnt have an awful lot to work with, but I think it still turned out okay! I really want to start weekly vlogging but my life it just too boring, I'd have nothing to film! haha. Maybe one day!

Also thought I'd include a little update here. We've both had a bit of a nightmarish week, nothing has gone right, especially with technology. Long story short, the computer bits paul got for his birthday to build his pc have been sent away for replacement, my mum has sent me my old iphone 4 because my 5c has drowned and is still in a bag of rice, its 3:35pm on Friday afternoon and all I have done this week university-wise is design 2 double page spreads of my magazine. I'm extrememly far behind now because of this week but I'mma suck it up and work super hard next week! Feeling postive and all that! Haha.

I'm opening and closing the cafe both days this weekend so I already know I won't get much done on the evenings, but I'm allowing myself those two nights to chill out and prepare for next weeks busy-ness!

Anyways, enjoy the vlog!



Alison xxx

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

A WHOLE LOTTA LAYERS


Striped Top: Urban Outfitters
Vests: Primark
Jeans: TopShop Joni Jeans Tall
Lips: Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner Red Diva

This was my outfit for the other day, I basically grabbed as many different layers as I could because it was so cold! It was Paul's birthday on Sunday and his parents came round and delivered presents, then we went over to ikea cause we needed a few bits, it took so much self discipline to not buy millions of things, I could spend a fortune in that place, I love it!

Came back home, had some tea and made some cocktails! Kind of a simple birthday night in, its not like Paul to go all out on his birthday, he's not a huge fan of bigging it up, we had a good night though.

Unfortunately, that same day I had my phone in my back pocket and it went for a swim down the toilet! I have the worst luck when it comes to electricals, I swear I'm cursed. Ive had it in a bag of rice the past few days and there is no signs of life unfortunately, it seems it may be fried. I'm perservering though, feels so weird not having a phone. Thankfully, my mum is sending me my old iphone 4 which I gave to her when I got my new one so I can have a phone for the time being.

I've also totally lost all motivation to get any uni work done this week, kinda been in a funny mood because of a lot of things going totally wrong. Hopefully next week will be a little more productive!

Alison xx


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE ROCKY ROAD


Both my boyfriend and I have  teeny obsessions with Rocky Roads. Mainly because they are pretty much fool poof, no baking is required, and they are jam packed full of chocolate and yummy things that they well and truly satisfy your sweet tooth.
So for my boyfriends birthday, instead of baking or buying a conventional cake, we decided to revamp our regular rocky road recipe.

For this rocky road we started with melting a rather large bar of white baking choclate with about 150g of butter.


We then went on to throw in a good handful of dried cranberries, pistachios ad mini marshmallows. Of course you can switch these around to your taste, in our other rocky roads we would use raisins instead of dried cranberries, this was also our first time adding pistachios.


 You then need to add in your chunks of milk and dark chocolate, as well as some chopped up digestives. We've also found using chopped up Cadbury's Fingers are a good alternative to plain digestive biscuits!


We put all of our mixture in to a tin foiled brownie tray to set.
 In another bowl, melt together any remaining milk and dark choclate with about 50g of butter and spread across the other mixture.

Add some cranberries and crushed pistachios and biscuits for decoration!



Et Voila! Your very own Triple Chocolate Rocky Road! Now all you gotta do is wait for it to set! You can do this by putting it in the fridge for a couple of hours, or just leaving it on the side over night. We tend not to put it in the fridge as it can get a little hard to bite, room temperate is defintely best when you want to tuck in!
When serving just pop out of the tin foil/baking parchment and cut up into little squares!

I love this recipe, I'm not the best baker as I get a little impatient and always tend to ruin something by taking it out to soon or late so recipes that require no oven are great for me. Especially this one as I think it looks so cool!

Let me know if you make your own!

Love Alison xx