14 things I'm looking forward to in April

1.  Going to London to see the eggs.
2.  15 days of lie-ins.
3.  Spending time with family.
4.  A girlie night out.
5.  Getting my hurr did.
6.  Going to see Oz the Great and Powerful.
7.  Maybe there being a bit of sunshine?!
8.  Making plans for another tattoo.
9.  Getting underway with a new challenge at the gym.
10.  Going to Ikea.
11.  An old school friend's birthday.
12.  Baking more.
13.  The opportunity to start wearing all the new clothes I've been buying.
14.  Visiting & Other Stories.

And as for last month....1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14 happened.  The weather put a stop to 3 and 4, and I haven't gotten around to 12 yet!


New Things: Zara Lime Green Mini Bowling Bag

These photos don't really capture the true colour of this bag. But now that it comes to describing it to you, I can't quite put my finger on what's different.  In real life, this is a bit more limey but the eternal question is what colour it actually is.  Is it yellow?  Is it green?  I just like to refer to this as "that slightly yucky colour that I can't stop buying stuff in." 

Yucky as it may be in some people's eyes, I love this bag for its ability to brighten up, as well as jazz up, an otherwise boring all black err'thang outfit.  It's a lovely little size, and though at first the longer handle seemed an awkward length, it's actually quite a good "rest your arm on me" kinda length.

I've just realised that I didn't formally introduce you.  This is the Zara Mini Bowling Bag With Zips, priced at £39.99, so that in between-y price that really makes me consider whether or not I should buy it.  Especially when it's a purely indulgent purchase as I already bought an everyday bag the week before.  It is lovely though, made of that slightly squidgy fake leather, and unlike anything I've seen elsewhere.  And it's slightly reminiscent of the Alexander Wang Rockie which I have fallen in love with thanks to Alexandra-Jane.  That girl has a bag collection to die for.  But at £650 there's no way I'll be buying the Rockie, which is why I'm loving this one instead!


The Frog Prince

When I was younger, I used to always make Mum make a detour to the pond at my older sister's school when we dropped her off in the morning.  The reason for this was that there sat a stone frog which I had to kiss, every day without fail, in the hopes that it would magically turn into a prince.  It's one of those hazy memories, where I remember skipping over to him to land a peck on his mouth, whilst Mum will tell you she was hanging onto me by my hood to stop me from falling into the pond.  Note, I did later fall into a pond at school but it wasn't that one.

Anyway, somewhere along the way my frog went missing.  No one knew where he went so I liked to think that he'd turned into a prince one night and gone off looking for me.  We joke that he turned into Ed, and I have a golden frog prince charm sitting on my charm bracelet to remind me of this.

Fast forward 22 years, and now working at that same school, imagine my surprise when our (sometimes grumpy) caretaker walked through the library the other week holding my frog.  I squealed in shock and he looked equally surprised when he told me that he found him at the bottom of the pond while it was being excavated.  I was pleased as punch, and the caretaker looked just as chuffed (bless him) and launched into a stream of consciousness about fate.  He finished by telling me he was really happy for me, as though I'd just found a long-lost love.

And in some ways I have.  On the one hand I'm sad that I can no longer believe in fairytales and think that I've found a my prince in my Ed, on the flip side I'm not deluded and didn't really think a stone ornament could magically turn human overnight.  It's actually rather nice that a piece of my childhood has come full circle and a mystery has now been solved.  But what's really lovely is the sense of joy I felt when I found him which seemed to rub off on everyone around me witnessing it.  He now sits beside me at my desk, and though I had plans to give him a make over and get him looking spiffy again, I rather like the shabby-chic look he has.

So there we have it.  A piece of childhood nostalgia shared with you all which makes me smile whenever I catch sight of my frog prince.


Marble Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to bake every other weekend.  And now, 11 weekends into the year, I've managed it!  I got this recipe from Baking Mad so rather than repeat it all, if you wanted to give it a go you can find the recipe here.
A few things to note....the mixture does begin to look like really runny scrambled eggs at one point.  It'll sort itself out when you add the flour.  The cocoa powder/milk mixture is bizarrely difficult to mix, and yes, it does resemble poo.  Finally, don't be afraid to be a bit stingy when filling your cases.  I made a few proper muffin size ones which will do for Ed who doesn't like the frosting, but their domed shape will make icing them tricky.  The best muffins are those that don't quite reach the top of the cases once cooked. 

Baking Mad has loads of recipes to try, including savoury ones which will be perfect for a novice cook like me!  Next on my list for a baking Saturday however are the banana cake and this delicious-looking chocolate cake.  Will you be giving these muffins a go?
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New Things: Snowflake Tattoo

I apologise for recycling an instagram picture...but photographing a tattoo nicely seems to be a struggle for Ed!
I like to think of my tattoos as charms; every one of them has meaning, but (with the exception of the quotes) they're all hidden and symbolic.  I got this tattoo to commemorate becoming an aunty.  Towards the end of last year I was thinking about getting a snowflake and linking it to this but ended up putting it off and forgetting about it.  Then my beautiful niece was born, and on the day I met her it snowed.  The first snow of the year.  Getting this tattoo was a done deal.


9 Little Things: Childhood

Image found via pinterest
  1. When lived in a flat, Mum was bringing the shopping indoors when I managed to lock myself in, Shirley Hughes' Alfie-style.  I was too small to reach the buzzer, so Mum had to talk me through it via the intercom.
  2. We used to go on family holidays to Center Parcs, and one year I went to Clown College there.
  3. We also went to Crinkley Bottom once.  We visited Noel's House Party and saw Mr Blobby, Mrs Blobby and Baby Blobby.
  4. One of my hobbies was dragging a selection of my teddies up and down the road in a cardboard box.
  5. I had the world's biggest (and most awful) fringe.
  6. One of my fondest memories is getting up early and going on our bikes with my older sister to the shop for newspapers for Mum and Dad.  Looking back, I must have been about 4 and she would have been 8.  It was a different world back then!
  7.  Speaking of bikes, it took a long time for me to learn how to use the brakes.  I would jump off while it was still moving and run alongside with Mum yelling "DON'T JUMP OFF!" behind me.  I then progressed onto just riding into a specific bush in our garden in order to stop.
  8. Another bike-related tale; I fell off and broke my jaw aged 7 when my sister told me to race a car down the hill.
  9. My childhood nicknames were "Spud" or "Dim".


Keep warm, whatever the occasion

With the arrival of spring just around the corner(hopefully!), now is a perfect time to refresh your wardrobe and add some staple items for any eventuality. It may be appealing to purchase the latestsummer trends, but with the UK weather as unpredictable as it is, warmer threads are a must to keep the chill at bay. Cardigans, shawls and jumpers are perfect additions to the closet and can be found at affordable prices. You can select many jumpers from the range at ASDA George for a fraction of the high street prices, adding to your wardrobe whilst being kind to your purse.

Casual Knits are a perfect basic to have in your closet, particularly ones that can go with anything. A classic black cardigan or tunic top will always be a timeless addition, with the advantage of looking stylish and chic, whatever the occasion. The black Textured Knit Tunic would be an essential piece to smarten up any outfit, looking fabulous with skinny jeans or leggings due to the extra length, while the Pointelle Spot Jumper is an ideal alternative to the traditional black jumper. With both of these items costing a mere £16, your knitwear collection can drastically improve, for less.

Just because it’s a little glum outside, put a spring inyour step and brighten up your wardrobe. With low prices, you can afford to be a little more daring with your wardrobe attire. If you’ve never dabbled with bright colours before, make 2013 the year to do it and stand out from the crowd. Bright knits are a perfect way of injecting a little fun into a dull day and the G21 Daisy Jumper Dress would be a perfect way of doing so. Or, for a quirky look, why not be a little adventurous with the yellow G21 Pooch Print Jumper from ASDA George?

There’s nothing better, some days, than chilling out and relaxing indoors, or nipping to a friend’s house for a relaxed coffee. On these days, there’s no need to dress up, keeping things casual and laid back instead. A couple of casual jumpers would be ideal for this purpose, giving you the chance to step away from your other half’s hoody and step into the Moda 2 in 1 Chunky Knit Cape or the long line Heart Knitted Tunic, both of which would look perfect with leggings and jeans alike. Add a pair of comfy Converse and you have yourself a trendy, casual outfit. 

Prints never seem to go out of fashion and are an ideal staple to add to your wardrobe. Whether you add them to a black skirt or trousers for work attire or you match them with a pair of boyfriend jeans, a George Animal Print Cardigan or G21 Spotted Jumper could be a fab addition for you.

Add a couple of pieces as workwear essentials and yourwardrobe will look healthy and give you plenty of options no matter what the occasion. Smarten up in the office with a classic cardigan or cashmere sweater, which will go with trousers and skirts alike. A pair of court shoes will finish the look off nicely. 

Give yourself a new jumper drawer on a budget this spring – you’ll be surprised how far your money can go. Cosy!
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New Things: The Zara Everyday Shopper

Remember when I added the infamous City Bag to my wishlist?  At the time I didn't really have a spare £50 lying about, and in all reality I just wasn't sure if I truly needed it.  Enter the Everyday Shopper.

I like to think of this as the City Bag's younger cousin.  It's a similarly sleek shape, albeit not as wide and with contrasting handles.  And while the City Bag has three handy compartments, this just has one, big section.

One thing I've found with Zara bags is that while they may look nice online, in store that's not quite the case.  Or vice versa.  This bag is every bit as lovely in the flesh.  It's not leather (obvz), but it feels soft and supple whilst being just structured enough to maintain its shape.

But the best bit about this bag?  £22.99!!  This really is a bargain, and in my opinion a really nice alternative to the overdone City Bag for those on a smaller budget.


Scaredtoast's French Toast

Until the #Surreylbloggersbrunch last month I'd never tried French Toast.  It was love at first bite and now I'm addicted.  It's so easy to make, so as a weekend treat I've been whipping this up for Ed and I.  Sometimes simple recipes are the best, so read on if you want to know how I do it!
  1. Whisk together two eggs (for two people, adjust it as you wish!) with a splash of milk, a squirt of vanilla extract (yes, "a squirt"...I have one of those squeezy bottles), some caster sugar and lots of cinnamon.  Measurements are not needed here, just do as much as you like!
  2. Chop four slices of bread in half, dunk into the mix and make sure it's all coated, then leave in a gooey stack.  I like to leave mine for about 15 minutes to let it all soak in, so now's a good time to wash up....or blog.
  3. Put a bit of oil in the frying pan and whack the oven on to a low heat.  When ready, put your bread in the pan to cook.  You want the bread to all be cooked and not look like bread anymore.  If it's not looking cinnamon-y enough, I like to sprinkle a bit more now too.
  4. What's the oven for? I cook mine in batches, so you'll need to keep them warm in there.
  5. Dish it up!  Ideally I wanted some chopped bananas and strawberries alongside my toast, but drowning it in maple syrup and sifting icing sugar over the top is another sufficient way to ensure you rot your teeth.
  6. Enjoy!
This has become my guilty pleasure....will you be giving it a go?