Showing posts with label manchester lifestyle blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label manchester lifestyle blog. Show all posts

Monochrome Geometry

I seem to be getting slightly better at this whole style blogger thing (humour me). But this was very much a honest this is what I actually wore type outfit because considering the temperature at the moment, comfort is literally the only thing I care about.

Coated jeans are probably one of my favourite things because there is just something different to your standard denim and it just adds that little extra. I love the look of leather trousers but alas, they tend to only look good on beanpoles so a compromise was coated jeans.

And this jumper, which is just so different to some of the others out there, is absolutely stunning. I honestly think it's so classy and could easily be worn with a skirt and high knee boots for a far more sophisticated look but is casual enough for uni when worn with jeans.

The hat is a H&M classic which is perfect for this outfit and adds a city chic look to the ensemble.

What are some of your go to winter outfit staples?

Roll Necks & Trousers

How do full time fashion bloggers come up with blog post titles? I genuinely considered calling this post "The One with Clothes" but alas, I digress...

I spend a large portion of my time on pinterest and unfortunately my favourite outfits are often quite Scandi inspired but seem to look best on a size 6-8 and as someone who is certainly not a 6-8, I decided to pull inspiration from it and put together an outfit that was wearable and super cute.

These trousers are incredibly comfortable because they have an elastic waist which almost makes them feel like leggings - I sized up so they're slightly baggy but they look amazing with the jumper which again is ever so slightly oversized and the chunky knit adds another element to the outfit.

This look was just calling out for a hat and this hat from Zara is so unique in colour that it adds something to the outfit - something that isn't monochrome. And the Stan Smiths which are a "classy" trainer, make the outfit more casual and less formal.

When Boredom Strikes

We all have those days where we've exhausted everything on netflix and the weather really isn't worth venturing out into but alas, boredom strikes.

So I've put together a list of things that I like to do when I'm bored and have nothing productive to do.

Explore Youtube
There are so many youtube channels out there and whenever I discover a new channel, I find myself binge watching their videos which always leads to at leas a couple of hours of entertainment.

I know this probably makes some of you shudder but there is something incredibly therapeutic about sorting everything out. My next project is my wardrobe and I'll definitely be putting together a couple of bags for the charity shop.

Play Online
This is very much a last resort as I normally find my stride when tacking my room, but a good way of entertaining yourself might be playing online! Online Casino's are great ways of curing boredom as they're often full of entertaining games to play. 

Write a List
I think it's obvious now that I love a bit of organisation and often writing a list helps me to organise my thoughts and really sort out what I need to do because no matter how bored I am, I normally have something that I need to do (don't we all).

I love cooking in general so depending on my mood, I either tend to bake or bulk cook for the week ahead. I love things like lasagne and pasta bakes for the weeks ahead and then freeze them to keep myself going. An hour of cooking for the weeks ahead is often worth it for the home cooked meals I'll be having. I do the same with baking, particularly with brownies which freeze incredibly well and are worth having in the freezer just incase hunger strikes and I have a sugar craving.

Take Blog Photos
Obviously, this isn't particularly relevant to those of you who aren't bloggers but I find taking my photos in bulk really makes my life far easier in the long run as it means I don't have to leave the warmth of my duvet.

Stocking Gift Guide for Her: Under £30

I love Christmas and whilst I go all out for close family, with friends I don't always have the spare cash and prefer homemade presents in some cases! But it's always nice to give a little something so I decided to compile together a gift guide of a few things under £30.

There is definitely a range of things here from little to large so a good variety for varying budgets!

This Soap&Glory Kissmass Cracker is possibly one of the cutest crackers I've seen and it contains one of their most famed products - Sexy Motherpucker (as well as beauty tips and the traditional crown). It's priced at £6 so is definitely a great gift for a Secret Santa or if you have loads of people to give gifts for!

Moving a little bit up on the price scale at £10 is this "Me Me Me" Bucket Mug which is perfect for coffee or tea lovers! It's a wonderful size and a fun way of giving it might be to fill it with sweets or a mini pack of ground coffee or tea bags ready for their next drink!

Perfect for the girl on the go are these mini straighteners from Eva NYC which are dinky but ideal if your friend or girlfriend regularly travels or goes to the gym as they fit in a little pouch as well. They're currently priced at £16.50 on ASOS but without the sale price, they're £22 which is very reasonable for what they are!

And finally, for a beauty lover is this Emma Louise Lipstick Wash Bag which is £25 and is gorgeous! It's very Lulu Guiness and is the perfect size for fitting everything in for a holiday! The lipsticks are stitched on so it's definitely slightly more high end than your usual wash bag! If you have a bigger budget, fill the bag with a couple of bottles of nail polish or a Lindt bunny for a little extra!

What do you normally go for with gifts?

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

The Summer Hair Update: The Balayage

I've never been much of a hair care person - I tend to buy the cheapest shampoo (we're talking under £10 here) and the most I do is the occasional hair mask or hair serum (if I remember) so hair is not big on my list. But I do love getting highlights.

So with Spring finally setting in, I decided I wanted my hair to be a bit lighter and went for a balayage which is essentially a more "natural" ombre and because the upper half of my head is still natural, it's a relatively low maintenance colour. For all my manchester readers, I went to RCNQ in the Northern Quarter for a cut and colour (Liam did my colour and Vince my cut) and I'm so happy! What I'm so pleased about is the condition of my hair, it's definitely slightly drier on the newer blonde parts but nothing like when I've had colour put in before. But when I was getting my hair cut, I got chastised on my lack of hair care, I decided it was time for a change.

Cue, Bumble and Bumble. Bumble and Bumble is almost a cult brand for hair care - they're obviously more expensive than your standard L'Oreal Elvive but they're brilliant. I've been using the Bb Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner which are brilliant. Because my hair is naturally quite frizzy, the oils in the shampoo and conditioner leave my hair feeling soft and smooth which means serum is off the cards! When blowdrying it, I'm using the Bb All Style Blow Dry Creme (not pictured because it's only a sample size) but I've been loving it so much that I've ordered a full size! My hair feels so light and smooth and it definitely holds it's blow dry longer than before.

Instead of assorted and random hair masks, I've been using Sacha Juan Hair Repair which is so lovely. I try to whack this on a Sunday so I can leave my hair in a shower cap for as long as possible but it makes my hair so much softer and manageable and I've noticed a steady improvement in the quality of my hair since using it.

So definitely a bit of a Bumble and Bumble rehaul but my hair is in so much better condition that it's definitely worth it. What are your haircare essentials?

Things They Don't Tell You About First Year

By the time this post goes live, I'll officially be done with my first year of university (and I've passed!) so I thought I'd share a couple of words of advice with those in their final year of sixth form and college who may be heading off to university in September...
  1. Freshers is not as fun as it may seem. It's a brilliant opportunity to meet new people and take advantage of (hopefully) being eighteen and hitting the clubs but it's not that brilliant - unless of course you are fully planning to drink enough to forget the evening which your liver will hate you for.
  2. You'll probably only go out once or twice after freshers. I think I've been out a grand total of maybe ten times? But nights in with take out and movies are far more fun and they cost less.
  3. Your room will probably be the size of a shoebox but that means less vacuuming, hey?
  4. Dishes will become the bane of your existence. Who knew it took so many to simply cook tea?
  5. If you can, buy a laptop. Everything is done through online typed submissions. It doesn't have to be a fancy Macbook but if you're considering going Apple, wait till you have a university email because then you get a Apple Education discount worth over £100.
  6. When your parents move you in and help you with your initial grocery shop, make sure they buy a 5kg bag of pasta. It's all you'll eat for the next year and it's a heavy item to cross off your grocery list. Same applies to canned tomatoes, spices and stock cubes. The kind of things that are normally just there.
  7. Frozen peas definitely count as one of your five a day. As does the 50p squash from Iceland.
  8. Aldi and Lidl are incredible. Honestly. Write a list, hit them up and if there's anything missing, move onto Asda or Tesco. You'll save so much money!
  9. Don't buy hundreds of ring bound files. I only use one and spiral bound notebooks with dividers are far more helpful and less heavy!
  10. Save every Amazon voucher for books (coming from a Literature student, I'm glad I did.) Compulsory reading alone was worth £90 but get to the library quick if you're on a tight budget! If you have a kindle/iPad, most books can also be found free or cheaper online.
  11. Do your laundry. Mum isn't around to tell you to give those jeans a wash so make sure you don't stink out your friends. Also, wash your bedding. It's gross. Don't put it off for two weeks because then it doesn't fit in the washing machine and costs more.
  12. Packed lunches are always cheaper - but some unis do cheap hot food, decide when you're having a main meal and plan wisely.
  13. Bulk cook and freeze portions. Homemade portions of curry and bolognese is far nicer than Iceland's finest.
  14. Buy bulk meat and divide them into portions so that you're not thawing 10 chicken breasts at a time.
  15. Budget. Those shoes may be gorgeous now, but they won't be so gorgeous at the end of the month when you're living off bread and water.
  16. You don't have to go to lectures but if you do choose a lie in over that 9am Marxism lecture, it will haunt you. And you'll have no idea whats happening.
  17. Get your second year accommodation sorted by Christmas. This seems ridiculously early but the best houses/flats will be gone and you'll be left with the dodgy, mouldy flat that no one wants.
  18. Lectures don't chase you if you don't do your work but submit everything early (in case the wifi breaks at a critical moment). Don't forget you're paying £9000 for this.
  19. On the first day of freshers you'll probably make a pact to move in with your flatmates from halls, but it won't happen. You'll stay friends, but wait till you meet people on your course till you make a final decision. But don't panic, the right people will come along and make things far easier.
  20. Never buy Ben&Jerry's at full price, wait till it's half price and stock up (I have two pints in the freezer for an emergency)
  21. Farmfoods sells the best and cheapest toilet paper. 1ply is not something you want to experience. (Nikki brand anyone?)
  22. Keep. Your. Room. Tidy. With such a small space, if you so much as leave one thing out of place, it looks like a bomb has exploded.
  23. But also, have fun. First year is a time for having fun (especially as it doesn't count towards your degree...) so enjoy it! Meet people, go out, explore the new city. It'll be worth it in the end.
So, this was initially meant to be one of those comedic posts but it's turned into more of a things I've learned at university but hey ho. I hope you enjoyed this post. Are any of you off to uni? Are there any things you'd like to add to the list?

The Most Incredible Raw Cashew Butter Cups

I'm so into my vegan and healthy foods at the moment and even though I haven't taken on the responsibility of going fully vegan (or even vegetarian), I'm definitely having the odd vegan meal but one thing I am doing, is developing my own vegan and clean snack recipes. The concept behind these cashew butter cups is nothing revolutionary - there are loads out there and believe me, I've tried my fair share of them but I sometimes find that they were too bitter and were nothing like my favourite Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; but these are.

This recipe is completely raw, gluten free, vegan, lactose free and refined sugar free. And there are several ingredients in there that are jam packed full of goodness like chia seeds (which I think is a little twist). And even better, these are made by putting the mixture in the freezer!

There are two components to the recipe, the "chocolate" and the cashew butter filling and then for decoration, the finely chopped nuts (I only had hazelnuts in the house so it really doesn't matter). Side note, although it makes six which doesn't sound like many, they're the size of cupcakes so they're really quite large (and very filling).

Cashew Butter Cups (Makes 6)

The "Chocolate":
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (make sure it's not maple flavoured syrup)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
The Cashew Filling
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • A pinch of himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp Agave Syrup
First off, line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake liners.

Now to make the chocolate filling, once you've melted the coconut oil, mix the cacao, oil and maple syrup and then add in the chia seeds and cacao nibs. The chocolate looks incredibly runny but don't worry because when it's put in the freezer, the coconut oil returns to solid and firms it all up. You should still have about half the chocolate mixture left when you're done, this is for the topping so don't throw it away! The reason that there are chia seeds and cacao nibs in the "chocolate" is because it adds a special crunch! Plus chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, full of fibre and protein and omega 3 fatty acids.

Once you have your chocolate, fill about a third of the cups and then whack the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes. The "chocolate" goes solid and actually then looks like chocolate!

Then make the cashew filling by mixing everything together. Then spoon about two tablespoons worth over the chocolate, spreading it to the edge. Once again, the cashew filling appears really liquidy but because the coconut oil goes solid at room temperature, the freezer firms the mixture up. Then put the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes again.

And finally, divide the remaining chocolate mixture over the six cups and sprinkle some of your chopped nuts on top. 

"Freeze" the mixture for about 20 minutes and voila! Try them and let me know how amazing they are! If you do bake them, make sure you tag me on twitter or instagram (@elliegdickinson) in a picture so that I can see how yours turned out!

Sidenote, don't worry about the amount of coconut oil in here. Coconut oil is an amazing source of saturated fats (which are good for you!!!!) and lauric acids which are essential in your body so don't worry about it being an "oil".

Giveaway: Win a 45 Polaroid Print Polabox!

I love instagram - I post almost daily and check it on the regular, every hour (well, maybe not exactly) so when Polabox contacted me and asked if I wanted to review a Polabox, I jumped at the chance.

A Polabox is basically a fancy way of packaging polaroid prints from my instagram or facebook and then have them arrive in a lovely box! They are honestly so lovely and such a fantastic way of displaying memories or events that I love looking back on. I've displayed them on a piece of twine in front of my desk and it looks so pretty! 

But Polabox have given me the opportunity to give away 5 Polabox's that consist of 45 photos each! The giveaway is 2 Weeks long. So get entering!

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

The Gluten Free Bake: Buttermilk Buckwheat Pancakes

Over the past couple of months, I've been trying to cut back on gluten (and lactose) in my diet and have been playing around with an assortment of different flours such as buckwheat! Contrary to the name, buckwheat flour is completely gluten free and has such a similar texture to standard wheat flour that it is fairly interchangeable. Now, whilst this recipe is not lactose free, I have included a substitution for almond milk if thats more your thing.

This recipe came about because it was a Saturday morning and I wanted pancakes. There is nothing more that I love than pancakes and I was going to make the standard version but the only flour I had was buckwheat flour, hence the recipe.

A word of warning, these are monster pancakes and are incredibly filling - I could barely manage one and a half so I would definitely not go overboard!

The Recipe (Makes about 5 pancakes):
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 2tbsp maplesyrup
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (finely milled)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (If you're lactose free, 3/4cup of almond milk) 
First, pop the butter and maple syrup into a pyrex jug and then microwave them for about 20 seconds and then mix them together. 

Then mix the dry ingredients together, then add the egg and buttermilk. Mix it together and voila, your pancake mix! I didn't use a whisk, I simply used a fork and although the mixture is quite thick, it was still fine.

I ate them with maple syrup and raspberries and they were absolutely delicious! Like I said, I only managed one and a half pancake so feel free to split the mix if it's just for one person.

Let me know what you think. 

The Gluten Free Bake: Cacao Chia Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are the ultimate snack food - especially when they're the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy. So when I spotted this recipe, I knew I had to have a play around with it to find the perfect substitute for a chocolate cookie.

It's vegan, gluten, lactose and refined sugar free so is perfect if you're intolerant to any of those ingredients or simply looking to cut back on the sweets!

Here's the recipe I used to make ten large cookies:
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup broken up hazelnuts
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup dark agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds (I soaked mine first)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melt after measuring)
This recipe is so easy, simply blend the dates and when they form a paste, add in the rest of the ingredients still a sticky dough forms. But be careful, it's really sticky so if your blender or food processor isn't brilliant, you may want to mix half the dough at a time.

Then simply pop them on a well lined baking tray, flattening the mixture before you put it in a 180C oven for 15-20 minutes. As this mixture can be eaten raw (no eggs etc), the point of the bake is simply to give them that cookie crunch.

These cookies are so lovely, the dates provide a wonderful natural sweetness and the cacao powder helps to cure those chocolate cravings! If you want to add another dynamic, try adding some cacao nibs (which are essentially raw chocolate chips) for a more chocolatey flavour. Because of the coconut oil, these do have a slight coconut taste so if you're not a fan of coconut, try vegetable oil or sunflower oil instead. 

Would you try these? What have you been baking recently?

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.