Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Years Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years Eve to you all! I'm sure that you've already been thinking about making some new years resolutions, well this post is going to cover some of the most common new years resolutions and how you can avoid breaking your resolutions. In the weeks that follow I'll be doing a series of posts relating to specific goals taken from the top 10 most common resolutions. I hope you enjoy this series and find it useful! In 2012 Time declared the following 10 resolutions as the ones most commonly broken:
Lose Weight and Get Fit
Quit Smoking
Learn Something New
Eat Healthier and Diet
Get Out of Debt and Save Money
Spend More Time with Family
Travel to New Places
Be Less Stressed
Drink Less

I bet you see some of your own resolutions on here as well, don't you? I think this list is familiar to everyone because these aren't only the most commonly broken resolutions, they are also the most commonly made. So don't feel bad about making a resolution that most people fail to achieve because there are ways to ensure you go at least some way to achieving your goals.

Simplify and specify
You will notice that most people say they want to 'lose weight' or 'save money'. Although these seem like very simple statements they are horrendously complicated and non-specific. Instead of saying 'lose weight' you need to split your goal up into more manageable, measurable and achievable tasks.

With the losing weight example, you should instead say "I'm going to lose a stone by the end of the year by exercising for 30 minutes a day using... technique and only eat junk foods once a week". Both of these things are measurable, specific and more simplified. It might also help to add a time element to your resolution if you are working towards a mid-year goal, a wedding for example.

Write it down
It might help to write down your goals that way you won't forget their specificity and to help you keep track of how you are doing. You can buy little note books from Poundland if you like to physically write things down or you can use a note taking app on your phone/tablet so you have it to hand at all times. You could also start a blog if you want to turn your resolutions into a hobby (two birds with one stone if your resolution is to start blogging!).

Don't take on too much
There is no point in making loads of resolutions because you won't be able to tackle everything at once. Start by having a think about which goals will take the most time to achieve. Choosing to exercise for 30 minutes each day in order to lose weight will take a longer time to achieve so you could start with attempting that first. Once you've got used to changing your habits you could start to take on another resolution.

This is sort of related to to the above point. Don't go into something if you are not prepared. Quitting smoking but not having the right support in place will ultimately lead to you starting again. You can't start going on a daily jog if you don't have a sports bra that fits you or comfortable running shoes. It is better to put something off until you are completely prepared than to start, fail and then feel badly about yourself. Just make sure that you don't keep putting something off otherwise you will never achieve it.

This relates to the point about writing stuff down. You need to check in every now and again to see what you have achieved. Not only will this keep you motivated but it will also give you an indication of how close you are to achieving your goal. I'd suggest reviewing your goals every month. You might want to extend or decrease a deadline or completely change your goal depending on how well you are doing. You have to remain interested to achieve long term goals.

In my future blog posts I'll be covering the following resolutions and I'll be putting up the links here once I've post:

1. Exercise more
2. Eat healthier (we will cover alcohol too)
3. Give more to charity
4. Save money
5. Get a new job
6. Manage stress better
7. Be more productive
8. Spend More Time with Family
9. Learn something new
10. Quit smoking

I hope you have a lovely start to 2014 and don't get too drunk!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Blog Sale!

If you are interested in anything featured here let me know in the comments leaving your email address, or you can email me your order using the email address on my contact page. Postage will be around £2.20 regardless of how many items you order but more accurate estimates will be given once you've ordered.

 Happy shopping!

Avon Foot Works Heel Softening Cream x2 - 50p each
Avon Planet Spa Hot Oil Hair Treatment - 50p
Avon Naturals Shine Drops Hair Serum- 50p
Avon Skin So Soft Hand Cream - 50p

Olay Essentials Complete care plus Multiradiance for Normal/Oily Skin 75ml - £3
Hello Kitty Bath Soak 75ml - 50p
Hello Kitty Shower Gel 75ml - 50p
Accessorize Lip Gloss SAMPLED ON HAND - 50p

Avon Smooth Minerals powder foundation Nude 6g SAMPLED - £4
17 Instant glow Highlighter and Bronzer in Tan USED - 50p
Stilla Sheer Tinted Moisturiser in Light 02 SAMPLED - £1

Clean and Clear Spot Control Moisturiser 40ml x2 - 50p
Neutrogena deep clean wave 30 replacement pads - £1
Clean and Clear spot gel treatment 10ml x2 - £1

Project D Day Hand Cream - 20p
Project D Day Foot Cream - 20p
Shimmy Shimmy Glitter Bar - £2
Lush Glitterbug Retro- £1

Juicy (2" pendant) Necklace with long chain - £3

Hello Kitty Watch - £7

Clinique Washbag - 50p or free with any purchase

Friday, 27 December 2013

Charity of the Month: Vote Now

This is the first month that I'm doing this so I expect there will be some hiccups as there always are with these kinds of things.

This month you have a choice between:
FareShare - Dedicated to relieving food poverty in the UK
Bristish Red Cross - Helping people who find themselves in crisis through out the world
NSPCC - Stopping child cruelty in the UK
UNICEF - Campaigning for children's rights all over the globe

You can vote by using the voting panel at the top of the right hand bar. You can only vote for one charity but you can change your mind if you want.

Voting is open till the 1st January!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day Sale List

Boxing Day Sales

10 Ways have provided an extensive Boxing Day Sale List with links and extra discount codes, I've been using it to stock up on next years gifts so it's worth taking a look.

I hope you've all had a lovely Christmas! Let me know in the comments what you've bought in the sales :)

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Leftovers Recipes: Still Don't Know What to Do?

Still not set on the idea of using your leftovers? Please do not bin them. Please. It is a national tragedy that there are more than 400,000 people in the UK that are relying on food banks each year to feed themselves and yet as a population we throw away £1,700,000,000 worth of prepared food each year. Why is there such a massive mismatch in our food consumption and disposal? As individuals we can help to reduce waste and feed others.

Sandwich Fairy - This obviously isn't going to be for everyone, but if you know there is a local homeless person in your area and you are able to get there safely then it will be well worth doing. I can almost guarantee that in my hometown of Lincoln there will be at least one homeless person outside WHSmith and in Sheffield there will be several in the doorway of West Street 165. It's like being a waiter to the homeless, but I can guarantee you they will be more grateful than anyone you've ever waited on before.

Leftover Swap App - This is only one for iPhone users at the moment unfortunately. This app allows you to post a photo of the food you have to offer with a link to your general location, you can also claim other people's food with the app. There is a short registration process (30 seconds) but it is worth it. You can either swap or give things away, so will be invaluable over Christmas if you have a lot of food to give.

Donate food - The Trussell Trust Food Bank Map shows the location of food banks throughout the country, some places will accept already prepared food but it might be worth checking first. Even if your local food bank doesn't accept leftovers you can still donate. Jack Monroe, pioneer of the campaign to debate food bank usage and my idol, has crafted a food bank suggestion list with the estimated prices of value versions of these products.

Give Food to a Neighbour - Many other cultures and religions give food to their neighbours but in Christianity there is less encouragement to share food. Just pop over to your neighbours to see if they'd like anything that you have to offer them. It's a nice idea and a good excuse to check to see if any elderly neighbours are okay. If you don't know your neighbours that well they might be a bit freaked out so just take it easy and don't overwhelm them, maybe offer them a mince pie first!

I hope you've all enjoyed my suggestions and are able to make use of all of your leftovers!

Merry Christmas to you all, I hope you have a lovely day!
To view the previous post click here, to see all posts in this series, click here.

Christmas Leftovers Recipes: Desserts

Here is the penultimate post in my Christmas Leftovers Recipes mini series and it's all about desserts.

1. Christmas Cake Bread and Butter Pudding - After Christmas you'll be leftover with all the ingredients for bread and butter pudding. Simply use Christmas cake instead of bread and all that cream that has been hanging about. Delicious. Can also be done with Stollen or Panettone.

2. Christmas Pudding Trifle - A lovely dessert for after Boxing Day lunch. Use up your cream, custard and any leftover Christmas pudding.

3. Christmas Pud Ice Cream - Stupidly simple but extremely impressive. Forget Sainsburys and make your own on the cheap!

4. Christmas Pudding Strudel - Delicious, more jazzed up version of Christmas pudding.

4. Chocolate Fondue with Christmas Cake - A fun and indulgent treat perfect for a New Years Eve party

6. Cake Pops - Great for doing with the kids or if you find sharing fondue off putting.

Credit to allaboutyou.com

7. Chocolate Salami - No really, this is a thing. You kind of need to see this.

8. Baileys Truffles - Good for a belated Christmas gift/birthday gift. Could be made later in the year providing you have any Baileys left.

9. Freeze it - Most cakes, creams, cheese and chocolates can be frozen. Check the manufacturers instructions or this guide for what items you can freeze.

10. Just eat the bloody thing - Seriously, why do you still have cake hanging around? What kind of human are you? Take it with pack up if you are going back to work

Keep your eyes peeled for the next special post tomorrow!
To view the next post click here, to see all posts in this series, click here

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas Leftovers Recipes: Vegetables

Following on from yesterday's post here is the next in the Christmas Leftovers Recipes mini series: vegetables.

All Vegetables
Shepherds Pie - freezable and delicious if you don't freeze with the potato on top
Veg Soup - simple but filling
Pasty - don't both making your own pastry, this recipe from Jus Rol is great. Include as many vegetables as you like
Pasta Sauce - blend everything up with some tomatoes, add to cooked pasta and top with cheese

credit to biteofthebest.com

Carrot and Lentil Soup - perfect after a winter walk and completely freezable
Carrot Cake - turning something healthy into something rather indulgent, still counts as a veg though

A few weeks ago my local Tesco had bags of sprouts for 1p each! So of course I went crazy and bought 2 large bags so I've become a sprout aficionado in recent weeks. Here are a few of the recipes I tried out and some additional ones too.
Sprout Gratin - an amazing accompaniment to Boxing Day lunch
Cheesy Sprout Pasta - I used this recipe, minus the potato. You can also add bacon to jazz it up a bit
Brussels Sprout Pate - an unusual starter for Boxing Day dinner
Sprout Coleslaw - a nice cold option to have with Boxing Day dinner or to put in sandwiches or (as my boyfriend likes to do) place on top of pizza
Brussels Sprout and Nut Soup - decadent, simple and quite impressive, might be one to make for the in-laws

Who are these cray people who still have rosties left over? Just eat them cold! But if you actually do have some left over:
Gnocchi - a little bit of effort but well worth it
Smoked Salmon and Lemon Fish Cakes - for all you lucky folks who are having smoked salmon but still have some left over

Lemon and Pea Risotto - looks delicious and great for using for pack up
Pea and Ham Soup - lovely if you've got some left over ham from Christmas dinner too

I hate parsnips, I think they are vile so I can't vouch for any of the following recipes but I have it on good authority that they are all perfectly delicious.
Parsnip Soup
Roasted Parsnips with Honey and Raisins
Cheesy Bacon Parsnip Patties

Swede is one of my most favourite vegetables so there is rarely anything left to make anything out of be Cole and Abel have kindly produced a series of recipes for swede which can be found here.

You need the kind of swede that looks like the one on the right, the one on the left is already quite the dish!

Broccoli and Stilton Soup - absolutely beautiful and perfect for cold weather
Beef and Broccoli Onepot - great if you fancy something a bit more filling and not feeling the Christmas spirit (if that's the case then you need another drink, or four)
Spicy Chicken Salad with Broccoli - a nice healthy salad for if you are feeling somewhat over indulged, substitute the chicken with turkey
Salmon and Broccoli Lattice Tart - another good one if you've got left over salmon, looks posh as well

The Guardian have produced a massive list of cauliflower recipes including the very interesting cauliflower pizza base which would be good for anyone on a paleo diet.
Cauliflower and Lentil Curry - delicious and good if you have any vegetarians coming over, they will have something good to tuck into whilst everyone is eating their turkey curry

Keep your eyes peeled for the next set of recipes for desserts!
To see the previous post click here, to see all in this series, click here

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Leftovers Recipes: Turkey

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without enough food to feed an army but you end up with so many leftovers it's tempting to throw it all away just so you don't have to see those unloved, sad looking vegetables in the fridge staring at you any longer as you bypass them for something more delicious. This mini series will suggest a few recipes to transform those leftovers into some delicious feasts. Today, we're starting with the turkey.

1. Turkey and Veg Curry
Ahh, an oldie but a goodie. Turkey curry is a bit like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way; delicious, nutritious, quick, freezable and simple. 1. Fry an onion/leek  2. Add some leftover vegetables  3. Whack in some turkey  4. Add a jar of your favourite curry sauce and simmer for 20 mins  5. Yum!

Warning: Please do NOT attempt to freeze Mary Poppins
2. KFT
Last year I cooked my very first turkey. I cooked it with the giblets still in the plastic bag inside the turkey. I never claimed to be a good cook but I did, however, come up with a brilliant idea for the large chunks of left over turkey. Kentucky. Fried. Turkey. I'll just give you a moment to let that thought sink in... You okay now? Good. Here is the secret recipe for creating Kentucky fried anything.

3. Turkey Pie
You can buy pre-made pastry for little over £1, because nobody got time for making pastry from scratch, especially at Christmas! Place some pastry into an oven proof dish, (blind bake if you wish) then fill with cooked veg, chunked turkey, cranberry sauce and some gravy, give it a stir and pop a pastry lid on top then cook. Pro tip: you can do little individual ones in a muffin tin then freeze them.

Credit to tablespoon.com

4. Soup
Once you've picked all meat of the bones you can use the carcass to flavour soup. The legend that is Delia Smith has a lovely recipe here.

5. Turkey Lunch Wraps
If you are one of those poor souls who has to return to work shortly after Christmas (boo!) then you'll appreciate having a little slice of Christmas but without all the other crap that is associated with spending a full 48 hours with your family. Simply put some turkey bits into a tortilla wrap, add some salad/other veggies you don't mind eating cold, grate on some cheese, add salsa and then wrap. Pro tip: seal the edges with mayo or crème fraîche to avoid unwrapping.

6. Christmas Stir Fry
Chop up a load of your cooked veggies (including the sprouts) and fry in a good amount of oil. Then add some chunked up turkey. Apply soy sauce and noodles/rice to taste.

Credit to blog.fatfreevegan.com

7. Turkey, Blue Cheese and Nut Pasta
Another great one for lunch or freezing. Mum cooked a simplified version of this for me last year and I really couldn't wait for Christmas to come round so we could make some more. The amendments I'd make to this recipe is (obviously) to add turkey and omit the tarragon, unless you have some, then add it. Most of us mere mortals do not have fresh tarragon to hand though.

Credit to Jane Blakey (cheers mum)

8. Turkey Burger
A fairly simple recipe which can be done in a few minutes. It is also an amazingly healthy cure for a hangover after you've had one to many Brandies with Irish Cream. To see the recipe click here.

9. Turkey Tortilla Chips
This is great for food whilst you are getting a bit merry. 1. Pour bag of tortilla chips into a dish  2. Sprinkle on some shredded turkey  3. Add salsa  4. Add as much cheese as possible and maybe some chillies if you have some  5. Microwave for 40 seconds or if you have a little more time, put under the grill till gooey. Then eat. With your face. Don't use your hands.

Credit to themessybakerblog.com
10. Turkey Pizza
Great hangover fare, also freezable. Use this recipe but I'd recommend you save on making a pizza base and just using a pre-made one instead. It might be interesting to use some fancy cheese on top instead of just mozzarella. Pro tip: add the ingredients onto a cheap and plain frozen pizza if you are feeling lazy.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next set of recipes for vegetables!
To view the next post click here, to see all posts in this series, click here