Thursday, 25 September 2014

VISITING: Best of Britannia @ The Farmiloe Building

Running from 2nd-4th October (YES, next week!!) is Best of Britannia at The Farmiloe Building.

I will be there with work and some of our brands and am very excited to see the fabulous British brands exhibiting their products.

With over 200 British brands, BOB will turn this beautiful building into one of Britain's largest pop-up stores - clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture, cars, food (already planning on some of this while I'm there!)

I won't ramble on about the brilliant things on offer, come and see for yourself!

For more information or to register for tickets for the day, click here.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

LIFE: Lately and Monthly Goals Update.

I can't say things lately have felt...easy. For weeks now I have been darting around, having little sleep and I really haven't felt like I know whether I am coming or going.

I have now moved to Northampton and tomorrow, I start my new job. It's safe to say that tonight - I'm a bundle of nerves. I think when you uproot and move somewhere new, just like when you move for uni, it is scary and you worry whether it's going to be the right thing for you or not. Unfortunately, I'm not moving for uni so I haven't got anybody else with me 'in the same boat'. Thankfully, the room is all decorated now, my things have all been able to fit and, purely for comforting myself, it really isn't far from home at all.

At the beginning of the month, I set myself some Monthly Goals. I decided on this because I'm forgetful, basically. Time flies by that quickly that it's so easy to lose track and by doing this, the smaller things I want to get done..well, I'm more conscious of actually doing them.

That said, I'm not sure I'm doing that well really...

- Yoga - 3 times a week
Failed so far - not being in one place for more than a couple of days has really taken it out of me and my yoga has slacked unfortunately.

- Blogging - at least 4-5 posts per week
So far I actually think I've managed to do this - I really do enjoy blogging but, again, lack of being in one place for long leaves me feeling completely disorganised.

- Life organisation - my room at home and my new Northampton space
My room at home looks very bare since moving a lot of my things here but it is finally a little more organised. My Northampton room is almost there.

- eBay clear out
The photographs have been taken but I am yet to post the items for sale

- Travel posts
None as of yet but it's in the pipeline...

- Walking
I've managed this and I'm really happy. When I've been at home it's been a little bit of a dog walk at least once a week.

- Forehead skin issue
I've been to the Chanel counter in Debenhams and spoken to somebody about this and been given something to try but we have decided it's either stress/lifestyle related or it's my skin adjusting to a completely different climate after travelling. She says it can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months for your skin to adjust, sometimes even longer.

- Cooking - 3 recipes and 1 bake per week
This has been done but actually blogging the recipes hasn't happened that often other than my delicious Plum Loaf (I've actually made three this past week and a half...) and a Tiger Prawn Curry.

- Sleep - at least 8 hours per night
I do not even know why I thought this would happen - if anything, I think my sleep pattern has probably become more sporadic than it has calm!

- Photographs - read up and learn a little more about achieving better photographs
I have actually been reading up recently on this but am yet to put the things I have learned to the test, apart from the photographs in my Plum Loaf recipe, using different backgrounds and props.

Hopefully I'll keep up with the goals I set myself, especially now I will be back in some sort of routine. Apart from working I'm not up to a great deal at the moment - a potential travelling friends meet up at the weekend, some family time for my Mum's birthday (which I'm excited for, living away from them is always hard - big baby still at 23!)

What are you all up to this week?


Friday, 19 September 2014

BAKED: Plum Loaf

am obsessed with this recipe - I've made two in less than 24 hours because it was that much of a hit with my family and I that it was devoured in record time.

This loaf is beautiful - so moist and flavoursome. I can tell it will definitely be a weekly bake. Perfect for an accompaniment with a cup of tea, a light lunch or just a cheeky little treat.

So simple to make, no butter (which I think is a big bonus and I'm a little intolerant) - let me tell you more...

You will need a 2lb baking tin, baking parchment (to line your tin) and the oven preheated to 180 (fan) 

For one loaf:
250g prunes (the dried kind)
225g self raising flour 
160ml apple juice
1 egg
1 tsp mixed spice 
150g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp Demerara sugar 

1. Roughly chop your prunes up into a bowl and pour over the apple juice - I did two bursts of 1 minute in the microwave - but you can also heat this in a pan on the hob.

2. Once the prunes/juice are heated, pour in your flour, mixed spice, soft brown sugar, egg and mix really well so everything is combined.

3. Once it's all mixed, spoon it into your lined loaf tin and sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the top. Pop it into the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Stick a cake tester through the middle after this time and if it comes out clean it's finito!

See what I mean? Ridiculously easy, minimal washing up and it takes incredible.

Slice and spread with a little bit'a Lurpax and serve up.

Also, little tip, after a few days (if it starts going a little dry) you can slice it and pop it in the toaster - this is what I do with my tea loaf and it still tastes great. The plum loaf hasn't really lasted long enough in reach of my family for it to get to the 'it needs toasting now' stage!

If you give it a try let me know in the comments below, on twitter or tag me on Instagram.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

VISITED: Harry Potter Studio Tour...again's not the first time I've shown my face at the Warner Bro's Studio and it most certainly won't be the last. 

It is no secret to those that know me - I'm a massive Harry Potter fan. I think it helps having been the right age to grow up reading the books but be at 'the right age' - if I can even say that?

The first time I went was last January and I absolutely loved it. The Great Hall was all dressed up for Christmas and I was very, very excited about this unexpected Christmas gift.

Surprisingly, I was waaaay more excited than the first time and a few little bits had even slipped my mind so it made it enjoyable all over again. As it was still the school holidays, they had a special event on, Bludgers and Broomsticks, which was a lot of fun. I will go on to tell you more.

The thing with this post is that I don't want to spoil any of the tour for anybody that may be going soon or in the future so I will keep my photos to a minimum and just tell you about the special event that was on, as well as a little snippet of information one of the staff there told us. But it is a BIG secret - although we know it's a brand spankin' new Defence Against the Dark Arts section.

Here are some photographs from this visit;

As I mentioned at the start, it was still the school holidays; every holidays, Warner Bros Studio put on a special little event or feature for the Harry Potter Tour. This holiday was Bludgers and Broomsticks and we were lucky enough to speak to the prop makers of every single Harry Potter film. They mostly spoke to us about the broomstick making (and blew our minds) whilst actually making some fancy brooms for us to see. The skill these men have is absolutely incredible! They made thousands and thousands of different props for the films and cleverly made generic lightweight brooms for the actors to hold, whilst also making a main prop of incredible quality for one off shots. 

You can see the saddle detail carved into the broomstick below - AMAZING...

Ed and I were fascinated by the blue prints of the brooms...

They were more than happy to spend a good half an hour chatting to us and you could see the joy on their faces as they spoke about their work as well as their love of HP. Both men didn't even come from any kind of background that would warrant their prop making - both admitting they almost 'fell into it'. Well, I wish I had such a talent that could allow me to fall into such an incredible line of work.

Another feature of Bludger's and Broomsticks below, a Quidditch game... 

Through the next door you are led outside to my absolute favourite bit - The Knight Bus, Godrick's Hollow, Privet Drive and the Butterbeer 'bar'...

After playing around outside for a good hour, the chill in the air led us back inside through makeup effects and for a wander down Diagon Alley...

And for the grand finale...

And exit through the wand room...

Please know - there are SOOO many things I've not talked about and around 150-200 pictures I haven't included so if you haven't been, there are still some surprises for you. I didn't even photograph the gift shop, mostly because we were so engrossed and spent an obscene amount of money in there.

I urge you to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour if you're a big HP fan - take your family, your friends, tell your friends friends. It truly makes you appreciate the sheer work and effort that goes into the HP films and even though some of the magic is will always be magic in my eyes.