Saturday, 29 March 2014

THE WEEKEND: Saturday feast.

Hey everyone, how are you all? Its finally the weekend! I thought I'd show you in this post what I got up to today. Its payday weekend (my very first pay from my new job woohoo) so my boyfriend and I thought it'd be nice to get out and about and treat ourselves to some nice food! And maybe do a little sneaky shopping too ;)

I got up about 9ish which is quite a good lie in for me, I get up at 6.15 on weekdays and my body just doesn't seem to like to sleep much later on my days off! I did a bit of tidying up, had some Ready Brek (I'm such a big kid haha) then got myself ready for the day! We headed into Belfast at about 1ish which was quite good going since I'm the slowest person in the world! It was a bit grim outside, rainy dull and chilly, but thats generally the norm for us in Ireland!

Mandatory car selfie!

Dressed for comfort!

 Clearly not pleased with the weather

Not the classiest car park in Belfast, at £2.50 for the day who can really complain though?!

We were both starving so we decided to head for some food first. After some debate we chose to go to Alley Cat, which is right in the centre of town. Its a bar/yummy food place, its pretty casual and has recently been renovated with cute little booths added and the most amazing wall art. It also does pretty good teapot cocktails, mmmmm.

We had some milkshakes while we looked at the menu, I went for Salted Caramel and Dom had a Chocolate Brownie one. They were seriously thick shakes and so good!

How cool is this?

The menu consists mainly of burgers and hot dogs with really scrummy side orders.
I went for sweet potato fries (all time fave) and southern spiced buttermilk chicken goujons.

Dom had mac n' cheese and a 'Pig out' burger consisting of a beef patty, bbq pulled pork, onion rings and slaw. 

Your food is served altogether on a cool little tray and you get plates so you can serve your own food and try a little of everything!

As you can see in the next pictures I had some struggles with eating my corn hahaha

After having eaten all I could, with Dom demolishing the rest of my food, we got the bill which came in a little cup with sweets?! Amazing!

All in all, Alley Cat is seriously good! The staff are really friendly and the atmosphere is great. If you're in Belfast its definitely one to try!

Next up we did a little shopping.. oops. Urban Outfitters had their sale on and while I managed to resist the urge to buy some New Balance trainers I just couldn't leave this little purse in the store. How cute is it?? It was half price down to £7 so I just had to!

I might have also been to Topshop... and bought some new jeans. I've tried really all of Topshops jeans and have loved them all. So when I saw the new Girlfriend jeans I had to! I haven't tried them on yet so I'm not sure what they'll be like on, they're a little different to my normal super skinny Leighs but I have a feeling it'll be love!

I just love American sweets and drinks so I had to get a mix up and some Cream Soda!

Tonight I'm planning on just chilling tonight and watching a movie with a big mug of this stuff!

Hope you enjoyed this post, if you live in Belfast and have any restaurant recommendation, let me know in the comments!

Rachael x

Friday, 21 March 2014

We're sorry Ikea!

Have you ever looked at photo frames for sale in shops? They always have a weird sample photo inside. Usually very boring, very fake photos. My friend Matthew and I wondered how you get to be one of the "photo frame people", we thought it'd be hilarious to go to a shop armed with photos of ourselves and replace the boring sample photos with personal smiley ones of us! Last night, we decided we'd go for it. We went to Tesco, printed off our photos and headed to our local Ikea in Belfast. 

If you don't know me in real life you won't know that I'm the most awkward person and I'm about as subtle as a brick. For this reason I let Matty do most of the hard work; dismantling frames and slotting in our photos. I kept a look out for staff and did a lot of bad acting anytime someone came near us!

I'm going to apologise in advance for the bad photo's that are to follow (my boyfriend will be so ashamed) but its hard to take a great photo when you're under pressure and trying to be subtle!


Just chilling on a bedside table

Yes, this is us in a glass, haha!

I won't lie, there were a few awkward moments with other shoppers, the worst being when a girl working there approached me and said she wanted to ask me a weird question. I crapped myself a little. It turns out she just wanted to know where I got my shirt from, phew!

Thanks for reading everyone, hope you enjoyed our crazy little evening!

Rachael x

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Saturday Night Munch.

Hi everyone, hope you're all well!

My boyfriend and I made some yummy food last night so I thought I'd share the recipe with you in this short post.

Generally we both try to eat quite healthily and exercise regularly, however recently we've been being a bit naughty and have made a takeaway on a Saturday night a bit of a regular thing. With Summer coming up, we decided to be a little more strict and try to cut out the takeaways for the next few months, so last night we decided to make our own healthy but delicious meal. We opted for Sweet Potato fries with Chicken kebabs.

It was quite a simple meal to make but I'll go through everything for you now.

We took two sweet potato's, peeled and chopped them into fries, making sure they were all a uniform shape and size to ensure they all cooked properly. We popped them onto a baking tray, drizzled over them a teeny bit of vegetable oil (but you can substitute this with coconut oil to make it healthier, we just didn't have any in) and seasoned with salt and pepper. We cooked them at 210 degrees for about 20 minutes, making sure to toss them once during so they were cooked on both sides. The fries definitely go down a lot in size so be quite generous when you're chopping them.

For the chicken kebabs, we chopped two chicken breasts, an orange bell pepper, one red onion and some pineapple into chunks. We put everything onto the skewer and grilled them for about 15 minutes to make sure the chicken was cooked. 

Once the fries and kebabs are ready I dished everything up, sprinkled the fries with lemon juice and added some sweet chilli dip on the side (not pictured), et voila!

The whole meal doesn't take too long to cook and is really filling and a lot healthier than a Chinese takeaway!

I also had some sneaky Raspberry sorbet after for dessert... it was a Saturday night after all!

Hope you've enjoyed this post and let me know in the comments if you have any favourite recipes.

Rachael x

Monday, 10 March 2014

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

Hey everyone, as you might have guessed by the name of this post, today I'm going to be talking all about books! 

Since I was old enough to read I've always devoured books. I remember queuing at midnight for each of the Harry Potter books and then staying up all night and begging mum to let me stay off school the next day to finish reading it. Bit of a geek? Yup!

Towards the end of last year I noticed that I'd not been reading as much and had instead been reading trashy magazines or scrolling aimlessly about the Daily Mail website on my lunch at work. I don't think gossip sites/magazines really benefit anyone at all, they focus mainly on putting celebrities down, playing on the readers insecurities to promote products and spouting pointless drivel. So come January 1st, I decided to ditch the gossip columns and get back into reading. I decided to start with books I already had in my collection but had either forgotten about and left unfinished or not gotten into in the first place. I've been keeping a list of each one I've finished as a means of encouragement. So far I've managed to read eleven books this year and have thoroughly enjoyed each one. I've already got a list of books I want to read next and am going to have to make quite a big Amazon order soon!

Now that I've given you a little background info I thought I'd share a few of my recent reads with you all.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

I think John Green is a great author and I loved The Fault In Our Stars so I knew I wanted to read another of his books. Looking for Alaska is about Miles Halter a teenage boy whose life has been pretty dull so far, he goes off to boarding school and meets Alaska Young. She's everything he isn't and brings excitement into his life. The story follows the two and their school friends through their life at boarding school. I don't want to give too much away but tragedy strikes and Miles learns a lot more about life.
The book is beautifully written and it keeps you interested the whole way through. There's nothing worse than when a book has you skipping through chunks of unnecessary detail. 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Next up is an author I hadn't heard of, Emma Donoghue. I was drawn in by the plot and knew I had to read it. Again I don't want to give too much away so I'll just use the description from the back of the book itself. 
"Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key.
Jack and Ma are prisoners."
This book is brilliantly written and gives a unique perspective on our world as seen through Jacks eyes, its quite upsetting in some parts but lovely all the same.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel and is the only novel written by Plath who primarily wrote poetry. Knowing that Plath committed suicide shortly after the publication of the book makes for a harrowing read. I found that I really connected with the main character Esther, as the novel is so honest and describes perfectly a normal girls descent into depression and insanity. Esther is clever and ambitious and she deals with things any girl her age would, boys, self image and not knowing quite where life is heading, it is this quality that makes Esther so relatable; the fact that she could be any of us.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I think I'll make it a bit of a regular thing, maybe every few months so I can recommend a few more reads for you all. 
If you have any suggestions of books I could read next please leave me a comment and let me know :-)

Rachael x

Sunday, 2 March 2014

What I've been loving this month | February

Hi everyone! Today I thought I'd do a bit of different post, I'm a complete beauty junkie and I read a lot of beauty blogs so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and do a "favourites" post. Its just going to be everything I've been particularly loving using this month. With possibly a few non beauty items thrown in too! I'm going to make this a monthly feature and will try to post it on the first Sunday of the month. 

First up I'll start with the skincare, now is probably the right time to let you know that I can be a bit of a skincare snob, I have sensitive skin and over the years I've tried so many products that have left me with breakouts so usually I stick to what I know. With moisturisers that tends to be either La Roche Posay Hydreane Riche or Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for dry/sensitive skin. However, I recently ran out of my beloved LRP so I needed to get a new moisturiser to use while I waited for it to be delivered. I decided to go for one of the new Garnier Skin Naturals Moisture Match offerings that have had a massive ad campaign recently. They have five different moisturisers, each one made for a certain type of skin, I opted for the Goodbye Dry Ultra Hydrating Rich Cream and I love it. Its not heavily scented, its really thick and creamy but sinks into the skin well, it doesn't break me out and it only costs £5.99... LOVE.

Next product is the Nivea Lip Butter in Caramel Cream. February has been a really cold month here in the UK and my chapped lips have needed quite a lot of tlc. My go to lip saviour for evening use is the Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm, I cannot rave about this enough, but for daytime use its a bit too heavy so I wanted something lighter. The Nivea lip creme does the job, smells seriously unbelievable and is a bargain price at £2.10. 

Moving on to make up, this next product is an old favourite that I've rekindled my love for this month. Its the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in the shade Light. This is such a great powder, it sets make up so well, looks natural and has great lasting power without being cakey or heavy. At £22 it is a quite expensive for a powder, when you can get some great high street alternatives, but I really do love it and it lasts forever, so I think its well worth spending a little extra on.

The next make up item I've been loving is the L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic Mascara in Magnetic Black. This is by far my favourite mascara at the moment and one I have repurchased numerous times. Its affordable, the packaging is really sleek and classy, it really lengthens and separates the lashes and doesn't leave me with "panda eye" smudges. It have a plastic brush with lots of little teeth like bristles which really work well with my lashes and I think its a brilliant alternative to the Benefit They're Real mascara. I tend to use two coats of this and then follow it with a coat of volumising mascara to thicken the lashes out afterwards.

A new Essie polish I've been loving is this pastel blue/grey colour, Cocktail Bling. I wanted something a bit lighter now that we're coming into Spring, this is a really gorgeous colour and it somehow makes my nails look longer than they really are. I love Essie polishes, they usually last me about a week with a good topcoat and the brush is really nice to paint your nails with. They normally retail at about £7.99 but at the minute there's a 3 for 2 on in Boots so it can work out a bit better if you pick up a few things!

I've also really liked the Batiste Smoothing Conditioning Mist, its a new product and I was intrigued to see what it was like as I'm a dry shampoo obsessive. It works as a smoothing mist, for use on dry hair to tame any frizz/fly aways and to nourish your ends. I've been loving this as I have quite thick hair and its been giving my hair a nice shine and making my split ends seem less noticeable. As usual it comes in the funky packaging similar to the dry shampoo's and is a purse friendly £3.99. Definitely a product to try if you like using their dry shampoos!

Finally my last favourite for the month of February is the Vita Coco Coconut Water with Pineapple. I love this stuff, it tastes so good and is a nice change to normal plain water. Its also really good for you and helps hydrate your body! They have lots of different flavours, but I think this Pineapple flavour is my favourite.

What have you been loving this month? Comment below and let me know!

Rachael x

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