I'm a massive fan of trying out new twists on classic seasonal recipes, so when I came across these hybrid Easter treats over on Pinterest I just had to give them a go! A blend between the traditional Hot Cross Bun and a scrummy spiced muffin, these Hot Cross Buffins offer a light and contemporary twist on a well-loved, classic English bake. 


I think a basket of these Buffins (I can't get over that word!) would make the perfect alternative to the standard, twenty-first Century gift of a chocolate Easter egg at this time of year. I'd love to make a batch to give to my grandparents as they look so delightfully tempting all snuggled together in their basket! 

If you'd like to make some yourself... 

You will need:

- 450g strong white bread flour
- 1/2tsp salt
- 50g unsalted butter, cubed
- 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
- 2tsp ground mixed spice
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 275ml/9fl oz milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 200g mixed fruit, a few cherries (halved)
- 2 tbsp plain flour + 5 tbsp cold water, for the crosses
- golden syrup, to glaze

- 9 brown paper, tulip cases like these
- a bread-maker
- a muffin tin
- a piping bag or sandwich bag


And to make these sticky & spicy treats:
  1. Put all the dough ingredients (everything in bold above) into your bread-maker and, following your bread-maker instructions, set to the 'dough' programme. This will make your dough for you, so sit back and relax!
  2. Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down to deflate. Flour your hands (this is important, as the dough will be super sticky) and flatten the dough into a large circle. Tip the mixed fruit into the centre of the circle and enclose with the dough. Knead the dough with your hands (you may need to keep flouring, don't panic!) to distribute the fruit evenly and then cut the dough into nine pieces with a sharp knife. Re-knead the smaller pieces of dough and then roll them into balls. 
  3. Line the muffin tin with your tulip cases and then pop a ball of dough into each of the nine cases. Cover the tin loosely with a layer of lightly-oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas 6. Mix up the glaze for the crosses by stirring 2 tbsp plain together with about 5 tbsp of cold water. You want a smooth, thick paste. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag or a clean sandwich bag with the corner snipped off and pipe crosses onto the buns. Tip- mine were wobbly and still came out looking fairly decent so don't get to worked up if the crosses look messy at this point!
  5. Bake for about 15/20 mins until the buns are golden brown and the crosses can clearly be seen. Lift out onto a cooling rack. Brush the tops with a little golden syrup whilst they're still warm. 

And that's it!



Feel free to mix up the ingredients if you want :) If you're feeling decadent, I think chocolate chips would work really well in place of the fruit, or you could even try adding some cocoa to the flour mixture to make them extra chocolatey! It's up to you!


A quick tea recommendation here, because I accidentally came across a match made in heaven. Whilst absent-mindedly making my usual cuppa this morning and sneaking in a cheeky mid-morning snack, I found these Hot Cross Muffins go so well with lemon tea- perhaps, I think, because they had a sprinkling of lemon zest in their dough. In any case, it makes for a lovely blend of warm spices and fresh lemon, I highly recommend! :)


So there we go, a lovely twist on a classic Easter recipe to impress your friends and family with! These Buffins are best served warm, either straight out the oven or heated up for a couple of mins, and work really well with either a smothering of butter or a good dollop of jam!


Do you have any fun and unique Easter recipes or traditions? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below :)


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Hot Cross Buffins

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


I'm a massive fan of trying out new twists on classic seasonal recipes, so when I came across these hybrid Easter treats over on Pinterest I just had to give them a go! A blend between the traditional Hot Cross Bun and a scrummy spiced muffin, these Hot Cross Buffins offer a light and contemporary twist on a well-loved, classic English bake. 


I think a basket of these Buffins (I can't get over that word!) would make the perfect alternative to the standard, twenty-first Century gift of a chocolate Easter egg at this time of year. I'd love to make a batch to give to my grandparents as they look so delightfully tempting all snuggled together in their basket! 

If you'd like to make some yourself... 

You will need:

- 450g strong white bread flour
- 1/2tsp salt
- 50g unsalted butter, cubed
- 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast
- 2tsp ground mixed spice
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 275ml/9fl oz milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 200g mixed fruit, a few cherries (halved)
- 2 tbsp plain flour + 5 tbsp cold water, for the crosses
- golden syrup, to glaze

- 9 brown paper, tulip cases like these
- a bread-maker
- a muffin tin
- a piping bag or sandwich bag


And to make these sticky & spicy treats:
  1. Put all the dough ingredients (everything in bold above) into your bread-maker and, following your bread-maker instructions, set to the 'dough' programme. This will make your dough for you, so sit back and relax!
  2. Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and punch down to deflate. Flour your hands (this is important, as the dough will be super sticky) and flatten the dough into a large circle. Tip the mixed fruit into the centre of the circle and enclose with the dough. Knead the dough with your hands (you may need to keep flouring, don't panic!) to distribute the fruit evenly and then cut the dough into nine pieces with a sharp knife. Re-knead the smaller pieces of dough and then roll them into balls. 
  3. Line the muffin tin with your tulip cases and then pop a ball of dough into each of the nine cases. Cover the tin loosely with a layer of lightly-oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas 6. Mix up the glaze for the crosses by stirring 2 tbsp plain together with about 5 tbsp of cold water. You want a smooth, thick paste. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag or a clean sandwich bag with the corner snipped off and pipe crosses onto the buns. Tip- mine were wobbly and still came out looking fairly decent so don't get to worked up if the crosses look messy at this point!
  5. Bake for about 15/20 mins until the buns are golden brown and the crosses can clearly be seen. Lift out onto a cooling rack. Brush the tops with a little golden syrup whilst they're still warm. 

And that's it!



Feel free to mix up the ingredients if you want :) If you're feeling decadent, I think chocolate chips would work really well in place of the fruit, or you could even try adding some cocoa to the flour mixture to make them extra chocolatey! It's up to you!


A quick tea recommendation here, because I accidentally came across a match made in heaven. Whilst absent-mindedly making my usual cuppa this morning and sneaking in a cheeky mid-morning snack, I found these Hot Cross Muffins go so well with lemon tea- perhaps, I think, because they had a sprinkling of lemon zest in their dough. In any case, it makes for a lovely blend of warm spices and fresh lemon, I highly recommend! :)


So there we go, a lovely twist on a classic Easter recipe to impress your friends and family with! These Buffins are best served warm, either straight out the oven or heated up for a couple of mins, and work really well with either a smothering of butter or a good dollop of jam!


Do you have any fun and unique Easter recipes or traditions? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below :)


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x




I started 2016 on a seriously pumped health-kick buzz- resolving (post-Christmasly) to both stick to a proper, gluten-free lunch schedule and get a bit fitter and a bit stronger... all in the name of my general wellbeing.

However, life being life, I've had a couple of minor setbacks since making those resolutions! I guess the one good thing about getting concussed is that it's given me a lot more free time to take Penny out and about for the odd walk here and there. So, even though I've not really been able to take up exercise in the hardcore way I had initially planned, I am still getting out in the fresh air from time to time! Small steps guys, small steps :) 

But when it comes to the food side of things, the healthy-eating has kind of gone out the window. I'm sure you know the feeling: you're a bit down, you're bored, you're home alone... the biscuit tin calls... Cut a long story short, my IBS has been flaring up something dreadful. So, the other week, I decided it was about time I did something about it.

That's when my Mum suggested we tried one of these locally-based, organic farm boxes she'd been looking at online. Available on a weekly basis or as a one-off treat, Riverford Farm Food Boxes offer fresh farm produce delivered straight to your door. What's more, according to their website, I found you could order their standard box of fresh veg or meat or you could order a box filled with all the ingredients needed to cook yourself a few meals.

Hmm. I was intrigued.  

I thought the best way to explain how the box works was to let Riverford tell you themselves! So here's a little vid all about their Recipe Boxes...




Suitably sold on the idea, I placed an order for one of their original 'Two Meal' recipe boxes- which would contain all the ingredients needed for one vegetarian meal and one meat-based meal. Sorted.

Placing the order was easy enough and I was told that my box would arrive on Friday 11th March, any time between 6am and 8pm. I was even told who would be delivering my box (shout out to Steve and Lynn) and that they would be my regular, local 'vegman and veglady'. All lovely and friendly, all very informative. Top marks so far, I thought.

Delivery is free and, as previously mentioned, can be any time between 6am and 8pm. The only downside to this was that my delivery arrived rather late on the day it was due to come. Around 7pm to be exact, which meant I couldn't make either of the recipes for dinner that evening. I was a bit disappointed by this but I cannot fault the lovely delivery man as he did apologise for calling so late and promised it wouldn't be late in the day next time.


Anyway, anyway, anyway, here's what arrived: An Original 2 Meal Recipe Box, containing enough supplies for two dinners for two people. Yes it was heavy.


And this is how the box looked- please excuse my scrabbly attempts to peel off the sticker at the front...I was super keen, obviously!


With my delivery I also received a welcome pack, which included a letter from my local delivery team (plus their contact details should I need any further help) and an A-Z veg guide.


When I opened up the box, I was met by this handy set of instructions. (On a side note here, Riverford Farm's recycling scheme is excellent- they've already rung me to ask if they could pick up the box and packaging to recycle...very helpful if you're too busy to organise this yourself!)


The aforementioned recipes were printed on little leaflets and stored in a slot on the side of the box. These were my two recipes for this box: Picada Chicken with slow cooked leeks & couscous and Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with mushrooms, spinach & red rice. Yum Yum.


On the left hand side of the box was all the fresh veg. I had fun rummaging through my haul...mushrooms, leeks, onions, garlic, lemon, ginger...the list goes on! Each recipe had it's own compartment (recipe one was in section '1' etc.) and, being the organisation freak I am, I was very happy to find everything labelled, complete with measurements and best-before date, in its own little pot. 


On the right were the bags of herbs and the spinach...and underneath these was the big cool bag with all my chilled items.



The chilled goods come protected in this sustainable 'Woolcool' packaging. Everything was still cold when it arrived, which was really impressive considering it was late-ish in the evening. 


Inside the chill bag was a pack of chicken thighs, (these went straight into the fridge, hence no picture) a tub of soured cream for Recipe Two...


...and some tomato puree.


Under the salad bags and the chill bag were these chunky sweet potatoes.


I then took out all the ingredients in the middle section for you to see.


Here's all the stuff for Recipe One (the Chicken Picada): ground almonds, plain flour, wholemeal couscous, saffron, bay leaves, white wine, lemon, eggs, stock cube and garlic.


And Recipe Two (the Sweet Potato Stew): tin of chopped tomatoes, peanut butter, cayenne, ginger, red rice and mixed spices.


Here are the leeks and the onions- all still in tact! And below is everything I received (apart from the flowers), all laid out...


Overall, I was really really impressed with the contents of my recipe box. All the ingredients were very fresh (complete with mud and all), packed in a thoughtful way to prevent breakages or spillages, and clearly labelled for ease of access when cooking. Additionally, Riverford had been really generous with quantities (seriously no scrimping here, more on that in my second post!) and everything was laid out in a really helpful and easy manner for when the time came to rustle up a recipe.

I think the timing of my delivery was the only minor niggle I had with the order but, aside from that, everything else surpassed my expectations in terms of quality and helpfulness on the part of the company!

In my second post, I'll be letting you know how the recipes went, what my family thought of the meals I cooked them (!) and whether or not I felt all the produce I received was value for money :)


Have you ever tried a farm produce box? I'd love to hear any of your tips for trying to eat organic in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Riverford Farm Recipe Box Review {Part One}

Friday, 18 March 2016


I started 2016 on a seriously pumped health-kick buzz- resolving (post-Christmasly) to both stick to a proper, gluten-free lunch schedule and get a bit fitter and a bit stronger... all in the name of my general wellbeing.

However, life being life, I've had a couple of minor setbacks since making those resolutions! I guess the one good thing about getting concussed is that it's given me a lot more free time to take Penny out and about for the odd walk here and there. So, even though I've not really been able to take up exercise in the hardcore way I had initially planned, I am still getting out in the fresh air from time to time! Small steps guys, small steps :) 

But when it comes to the food side of things, the healthy-eating has kind of gone out the window. I'm sure you know the feeling: you're a bit down, you're bored, you're home alone... the biscuit tin calls... Cut a long story short, my IBS has been flaring up something dreadful. So, the other week, I decided it was about time I did something about it.

That's when my Mum suggested we tried one of these locally-based, organic farm boxes she'd been looking at online. Available on a weekly basis or as a one-off treat, Riverford Farm Food Boxes offer fresh farm produce delivered straight to your door. What's more, according to their website, I found you could order their standard box of fresh veg or meat or you could order a box filled with all the ingredients needed to cook yourself a few meals.

Hmm. I was intrigued.  

I thought the best way to explain how the box works was to let Riverford tell you themselves! So here's a little vid all about their Recipe Boxes...




Suitably sold on the idea, I placed an order for one of their original 'Two Meal' recipe boxes- which would contain all the ingredients needed for one vegetarian meal and one meat-based meal. Sorted.

Placing the order was easy enough and I was told that my box would arrive on Friday 11th March, any time between 6am and 8pm. I was even told who would be delivering my box (shout out to Steve and Lynn) and that they would be my regular, local 'vegman and veglady'. All lovely and friendly, all very informative. Top marks so far, I thought.

Delivery is free and, as previously mentioned, can be any time between 6am and 8pm. The only downside to this was that my delivery arrived rather late on the day it was due to come. Around 7pm to be exact, which meant I couldn't make either of the recipes for dinner that evening. I was a bit disappointed by this but I cannot fault the lovely delivery man as he did apologise for calling so late and promised it wouldn't be late in the day next time.


Anyway, anyway, anyway, here's what arrived: An Original 2 Meal Recipe Box, containing enough supplies for two dinners for two people. Yes it was heavy.


And this is how the box looked- please excuse my scrabbly attempts to peel off the sticker at the front...I was super keen, obviously!


With my delivery I also received a welcome pack, which included a letter from my local delivery team (plus their contact details should I need any further help) and an A-Z veg guide.


When I opened up the box, I was met by this handy set of instructions. (On a side note here, Riverford Farm's recycling scheme is excellent- they've already rung me to ask if they could pick up the box and packaging to recycle...very helpful if you're too busy to organise this yourself!)


The aforementioned recipes were printed on little leaflets and stored in a slot on the side of the box. These were my two recipes for this box: Picada Chicken with slow cooked leeks & couscous and Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew with mushrooms, spinach & red rice. Yum Yum.


On the left hand side of the box was all the fresh veg. I had fun rummaging through my haul...mushrooms, leeks, onions, garlic, lemon, ginger...the list goes on! Each recipe had it's own compartment (recipe one was in section '1' etc.) and, being the organisation freak I am, I was very happy to find everything labelled, complete with measurements and best-before date, in its own little pot. 


On the right were the bags of herbs and the spinach...and underneath these was the big cool bag with all my chilled items.



The chilled goods come protected in this sustainable 'Woolcool' packaging. Everything was still cold when it arrived, which was really impressive considering it was late-ish in the evening. 


Inside the chill bag was a pack of chicken thighs, (these went straight into the fridge, hence no picture) a tub of soured cream for Recipe Two...


...and some tomato puree.


Under the salad bags and the chill bag were these chunky sweet potatoes.


I then took out all the ingredients in the middle section for you to see.


Here's all the stuff for Recipe One (the Chicken Picada): ground almonds, plain flour, wholemeal couscous, saffron, bay leaves, white wine, lemon, eggs, stock cube and garlic.


And Recipe Two (the Sweet Potato Stew): tin of chopped tomatoes, peanut butter, cayenne, ginger, red rice and mixed spices.


Here are the leeks and the onions- all still in tact! And below is everything I received (apart from the flowers), all laid out...


Overall, I was really really impressed with the contents of my recipe box. All the ingredients were very fresh (complete with mud and all), packed in a thoughtful way to prevent breakages or spillages, and clearly labelled for ease of access when cooking. Additionally, Riverford had been really generous with quantities (seriously no scrimping here, more on that in my second post!) and everything was laid out in a really helpful and easy manner for when the time came to rustle up a recipe.

I think the timing of my delivery was the only minor niggle I had with the order but, aside from that, everything else surpassed my expectations in terms of quality and helpfulness on the part of the company!

In my second post, I'll be letting you know how the recipes went, what my family thought of the meals I cooked them (!) and whether or not I felt all the produce I received was value for money :)


Have you ever tried a farm produce box? I'd love to hear any of your tips for trying to eat organic in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Today, I thought I would share one of my favourite writing techniques with you.

It's a bit silly and occasionally the results are very bizarre but, what's best about this particular method of creating poetry is that it totally frees you up creatively. You can put words together however you like and not have to worry about them making any sort of logical sense.

Perfect if you feel (as I did, today) like nothing is making any sense in your brain anyway!

The technique is called 'Found Poetry' & you may have heard of it before, as there are many many different ways of creating it. For example, some people like to block out random spaces in newspapers (with a chunky marker pen) and write using only the remaining letters... some like to cut words and sentences out from magazines and then rearrange them, like a collage, into poems...and some people even enjoy scribbling their way through old books (sacrilege!) and using the un-scribbled parts of each page to make up great long lines of poetry. Whatever works for you, I guess!

My 'Found Poetry' technique is, once again, slightly different. What I like to do is take an old newspaper/magazine/brochure (the crappier the better, I find) and, scan-reading my way through the whichever article I've chosen, circle any words that jump out at me. A key tip here is not to choose the words for any particular, conscious reason- because it goes well with another word already circled, for example- but rather pick out words that simply strike a chord with you, or make you feel a certain emotion.

As a rule of thumb, if it makes you feel weird (scrumping, for example, is a word that made me feel weird when I circled it today) then it's probably a good word to pick!

Then, once I've got all my circled words, I rearrange them into some kind of order. There are no real rules for this bit- just write whatever feels natural and try to get some sort of flow going. If you need to whack in an 'It' or 'I' or 'but' to glue your words together, then you can! The whole point is that it's up to you :)

I highly recommend this activity if you're feeling depressed, anxious or unwell. When those spiralling thoughts take over, it can be a lot of fun to gain a sense of control over words and basically make them your bitch (for want of a better phrase!) for a while. It's also a great technique to use if you, like me, are not feeling up to usual writerly self- it's a fun and silly way of easing yourself back into the writing game again without the added pressure of that cynical, inner critic :D


Anyway, here are the three poems I came up with in my short session today, if you'd like to take a peek...



a swarm
a howling
hunt

I'm scared
I'll
disappear
into the wavy grass by

standing serenely
on a trap door
and
sporting
the customary bed hair

my memories are
wooden
(in parts)
and grainy-

a line of picket fence
shrugging against itself


-


Generally
pillow calls
make us feel
darker
and
sharp

We absorb
the rise
of light
just as the
smug
body clock
peaks

but
no muscle
planks
a harder performance
than
the heart.


-


dough
and patches
of passion
have changed
the spiky,
feral
bug inside me

yet
the mist is scrumping its way
back
over the seasons and

its like

being weighed down on the sofa
by the dog
and not the cat



My circled words- yes, 'customary bed hair' was in there!

I really hope you give this activity a go! It's so much fun and always makes me feel so much more accomplished, even if I don't manage to get out of bed to do it :)

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other quick and easy writing techniques, I'd love to try some new ones!


In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x



Found Poetry

Sunday, 13 March 2016


Today, I thought I would share one of my favourite writing techniques with you.

It's a bit silly and occasionally the results are very bizarre but, what's best about this particular method of creating poetry is that it totally frees you up creatively. You can put words together however you like and not have to worry about them making any sort of logical sense.

Perfect if you feel (as I did, today) like nothing is making any sense in your brain anyway!

The technique is called 'Found Poetry' & you may have heard of it before, as there are many many different ways of creating it. For example, some people like to block out random spaces in newspapers (with a chunky marker pen) and write using only the remaining letters... some like to cut words and sentences out from magazines and then rearrange them, like a collage, into poems...and some people even enjoy scribbling their way through old books (sacrilege!) and using the un-scribbled parts of each page to make up great long lines of poetry. Whatever works for you, I guess!

My 'Found Poetry' technique is, once again, slightly different. What I like to do is take an old newspaper/magazine/brochure (the crappier the better, I find) and, scan-reading my way through the whichever article I've chosen, circle any words that jump out at me. A key tip here is not to choose the words for any particular, conscious reason- because it goes well with another word already circled, for example- but rather pick out words that simply strike a chord with you, or make you feel a certain emotion.

As a rule of thumb, if it makes you feel weird (scrumping, for example, is a word that made me feel weird when I circled it today) then it's probably a good word to pick!

Then, once I've got all my circled words, I rearrange them into some kind of order. There are no real rules for this bit- just write whatever feels natural and try to get some sort of flow going. If you need to whack in an 'It' or 'I' or 'but' to glue your words together, then you can! The whole point is that it's up to you :)

I highly recommend this activity if you're feeling depressed, anxious or unwell. When those spiralling thoughts take over, it can be a lot of fun to gain a sense of control over words and basically make them your bitch (for want of a better phrase!) for a while. It's also a great technique to use if you, like me, are not feeling up to usual writerly self- it's a fun and silly way of easing yourself back into the writing game again without the added pressure of that cynical, inner critic :D


Anyway, here are the three poems I came up with in my short session today, if you'd like to take a peek...



a swarm
a howling
hunt

I'm scared
I'll
disappear
into the wavy grass by

standing serenely
on a trap door
and
sporting
the customary bed hair

my memories are
wooden
(in parts)
and grainy-

a line of picket fence
shrugging against itself


-


Generally
pillow calls
make us feel
darker
and
sharp

We absorb
the rise
of light
just as the
smug
body clock
peaks

but
no muscle
planks
a harder performance
than
the heart.


-


dough
and patches
of passion
have changed
the spiky,
feral
bug inside me

yet
the mist is scrumping its way
back
over the seasons and

its like

being weighed down on the sofa
by the dog
and not the cat



My circled words- yes, 'customary bed hair' was in there!

I really hope you give this activity a go! It's so much fun and always makes me feel so much more accomplished, even if I don't manage to get out of bed to do it :)

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other quick and easy writing techniques, I'd love to try some new ones!


In the meantime,
All the love,
Sian x




So, I have a confession to make.

This is my first ever subscription box!

Mad, right?!

I think the thing is, I'm not really much of a make-up/beauty devotee && a lot of subscription boxes aimed at women my age seem to be quite heavily beauty-based. Totally not an issue, don't get me wrong here... I think if you love beauty then those boxes are THE BOMB. However, I reckon what I was on the lookout for was something that could offer elements of my other interests too...other stuff I enjoy, like baking/photography/drawing etc. etc.

And then I stumbled across My Little Box.

And My Little Box is a bit different.

They offer subscribers a themed box every month, with contents ranging from framed prints to cushion covers to jewellery kits to balloons to tote bags...the list is endless! You always get a hand-picked selection of beauty goodies to go with the theme of every box but, on top of this selection, you also get some fun and practical bits and bobs to entertain you for the month! I adore the thought and creativity that (clearly) goes into making sure these boxes are unique every time you receive them. I doubt it's a subscription that I'll get bored of quickly... a key deciding factor that made me soooo keen to sign up through their website and just blooming well start receiving the lovely boxes already!!


With that in mind, you can guess how excited I was to get this one, the March edition, in the post yesterday! This month's theme is Bubbles- all things bright, fresh and fun...perfect for this time of year when we're all getting pumped for Spring and Summer!



Pop the lid off and everything comes wrapped up in ribbon...and, this month, with a little balloon to blow up! Such a nice touch... and I loooove the ombre dahlings!


(&& can we just take a moment to appreciate how cute that ribbon is?!)


When you undo the package- on top of all the other goodies in the box is the monthly My Little World magazine. This month it covered 'all things big, bubbly, and bright'... just what I needed delivered to my door on the slightly dreary, drizzly March morning it arrived!!

I had a flick through the mag with my cuppa later that evening and was really happy to find this little pamphlet contained everything from some seriously pop-y style inspo to a rundown of the art world's 'biggest, bubbliest masterpieces' !! It was like a little slice of Summer- just lovely :)


Under the mag was where all the products were hiding! 

I just love how everything was presented here... with separate layers for you to uncover once you opened the box. Anyone who knows me will know how much I appreciate the attention to detail with this kind of thing :) I'm a freak. I know. 


The first thing that caught my eye amongst all the goodies was this funky looking little box.


Inside was a rather dinky blending sponge! I've actually been after one of these for ages because they're supposed to be really good for dry skin. I get the occasional dry skin day (this freezy cold Winter we've had hasn't helped) and I've heard that the method of moistening the sponge first before applying your foundation is a good way of preventing the inevitable flaky/caked look that can come with having dry skin.

Top marks to the box so far && I can't wait to try the sponge out- I'll let you know how well it works!


Next, sitting beside the sponge, was this little drawstring bag of delights.


& the first thing that I pulled out was this Bewitching Beauty Facial Spray by Garancia. According to the handy little leaflet that came with these products- this is a French cult fave that smoothes, brightens and revives skin to create a glow that's 'downright otherworldly'. It's a facial peeling spray, which sounds kinda scary to me...but I can't wait to give it a go 'cos damn would I love some otherworldly skin!


Next treat out of the bag was this High Volume Mascara by Givenchy. Bold and very very black, this bad boy is probably best for a nighttime look as it does create a very loud amount of volume. I am veryyy lucky to have been born with long eyelashes- a blessing that I am forever grateful for, don't get me wrong, BUT sometimes mascaras like this one can make me look a bit like a (slightly creepy) wide-eyed doll. As it's quite va-va-voomy and really does give a lot of oomph, I think I'll be reserving it for special nighttime occassions to avoid the 'overdone' look.

But 10/10 to Givenchy for effort. I think this would work wonders for someone with naturally short or straight lashes in need of a bit of a boost.


The final treasure in the bag was this Pink Bubble Blush, made by MyLittleBox themselves. I'm a huge fan of multi-use beauty products as I'm generally quite lazy when it comes to applying make-up (I ain't got time for contouring in the morning- sorry make-up Gods!!) so this tint is super handy for me. You can simply whack it on your cheeks and smudge it on your lips, blend out a bit, and you're good!  


The only thing I would say, and this is as a proud member of the redhead camp, is that the tone is quite a pinky pink and not very flattering (when used amply) for someone as pale as myself. 

But I do know us gingers are in the minority, and I'm sure it's a gorgeous everyday shade for most people...I just felt a bit of pale person disappointment here, that's all :) 


And I must say, I really like that this box included this little pouch for all the beauty treats! Not only is the design super freakin' cute, but all the products fit in the bag quite comfortably... meaning you don't have to keep the box forever if you don't want to.


The final product was this Soft Cushion Paddle Brush, also made by MyLittleBox themselves. This is probably the only item I was disappointed with when I took it out of its packaging...only because it feels like one of those brushes you have when you're about seven and not really into styling your hair yet. I must admit, the size of it would make it handy for travelling or for popping into you handbag in case of wind-based emergencies but I can't help feeling a bit childish when I use it! If you have hair that's easy to manage, I'm certain this brush would do the job just fine but for really-bloody-difficult-to-manage thick hair it's a bit wimpy.

Soz brush. You tried to battle my locks, you tried.


Without wanting to end on a negative note, I will say that, overall, I was mightily impressed with my first My Little Box :) I'll definitely be keeping the subscription going because it was just so lovely to receive this little box of sunshiny treats in the post and to have that moment of excitement when delving through all the layers!

(Oh and there's that balloon all blown up! Love it.)

Whether it continues to be good value for money (at almost £15/month, incl. p&p, it's not the cheapest box out there) remains to be seen... but I am already super excited for what next month has to offer && I'll be sure to let you know all about it once it arrives :)

Do you have any recommendations for fun, not necessarily beauty-based subscription boxes? I'd love to know in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


My Little Box {March}

Friday, 11 March 2016


So, I have a confession to make.

This is my first ever subscription box!

Mad, right?!

I think the thing is, I'm not really much of a make-up/beauty devotee && a lot of subscription boxes aimed at women my age seem to be quite heavily beauty-based. Totally not an issue, don't get me wrong here... I think if you love beauty then those boxes are THE BOMB. However, I reckon what I was on the lookout for was something that could offer elements of my other interests too...other stuff I enjoy, like baking/photography/drawing etc. etc.

And then I stumbled across My Little Box.

And My Little Box is a bit different.

They offer subscribers a themed box every month, with contents ranging from framed prints to cushion covers to jewellery kits to balloons to tote bags...the list is endless! You always get a hand-picked selection of beauty goodies to go with the theme of every box but, on top of this selection, you also get some fun and practical bits and bobs to entertain you for the month! I adore the thought and creativity that (clearly) goes into making sure these boxes are unique every time you receive them. I doubt it's a subscription that I'll get bored of quickly... a key deciding factor that made me soooo keen to sign up through their website and just blooming well start receiving the lovely boxes already!!


With that in mind, you can guess how excited I was to get this one, the March edition, in the post yesterday! This month's theme is Bubbles- all things bright, fresh and fun...perfect for this time of year when we're all getting pumped for Spring and Summer!



Pop the lid off and everything comes wrapped up in ribbon...and, this month, with a little balloon to blow up! Such a nice touch... and I loooove the ombre dahlings!


(&& can we just take a moment to appreciate how cute that ribbon is?!)


When you undo the package- on top of all the other goodies in the box is the monthly My Little World magazine. This month it covered 'all things big, bubbly, and bright'... just what I needed delivered to my door on the slightly dreary, drizzly March morning it arrived!!

I had a flick through the mag with my cuppa later that evening and was really happy to find this little pamphlet contained everything from some seriously pop-y style inspo to a rundown of the art world's 'biggest, bubbliest masterpieces' !! It was like a little slice of Summer- just lovely :)


Under the mag was where all the products were hiding! 

I just love how everything was presented here... with separate layers for you to uncover once you opened the box. Anyone who knows me will know how much I appreciate the attention to detail with this kind of thing :) I'm a freak. I know. 


The first thing that caught my eye amongst all the goodies was this funky looking little box.


Inside was a rather dinky blending sponge! I've actually been after one of these for ages because they're supposed to be really good for dry skin. I get the occasional dry skin day (this freezy cold Winter we've had hasn't helped) and I've heard that the method of moistening the sponge first before applying your foundation is a good way of preventing the inevitable flaky/caked look that can come with having dry skin.

Top marks to the box so far && I can't wait to try the sponge out- I'll let you know how well it works!


Next, sitting beside the sponge, was this little drawstring bag of delights.


& the first thing that I pulled out was this Bewitching Beauty Facial Spray by Garancia. According to the handy little leaflet that came with these products- this is a French cult fave that smoothes, brightens and revives skin to create a glow that's 'downright otherworldly'. It's a facial peeling spray, which sounds kinda scary to me...but I can't wait to give it a go 'cos damn would I love some otherworldly skin!


Next treat out of the bag was this High Volume Mascara by Givenchy. Bold and very very black, this bad boy is probably best for a nighttime look as it does create a very loud amount of volume. I am veryyy lucky to have been born with long eyelashes- a blessing that I am forever grateful for, don't get me wrong, BUT sometimes mascaras like this one can make me look a bit like a (slightly creepy) wide-eyed doll. As it's quite va-va-voomy and really does give a lot of oomph, I think I'll be reserving it for special nighttime occassions to avoid the 'overdone' look.

But 10/10 to Givenchy for effort. I think this would work wonders for someone with naturally short or straight lashes in need of a bit of a boost.


The final treasure in the bag was this Pink Bubble Blush, made by MyLittleBox themselves. I'm a huge fan of multi-use beauty products as I'm generally quite lazy when it comes to applying make-up (I ain't got time for contouring in the morning- sorry make-up Gods!!) so this tint is super handy for me. You can simply whack it on your cheeks and smudge it on your lips, blend out a bit, and you're good!  


The only thing I would say, and this is as a proud member of the redhead camp, is that the tone is quite a pinky pink and not very flattering (when used amply) for someone as pale as myself. 

But I do know us gingers are in the minority, and I'm sure it's a gorgeous everyday shade for most people...I just felt a bit of pale person disappointment here, that's all :) 


And I must say, I really like that this box included this little pouch for all the beauty treats! Not only is the design super freakin' cute, but all the products fit in the bag quite comfortably... meaning you don't have to keep the box forever if you don't want to.


The final product was this Soft Cushion Paddle Brush, also made by MyLittleBox themselves. This is probably the only item I was disappointed with when I took it out of its packaging...only because it feels like one of those brushes you have when you're about seven and not really into styling your hair yet. I must admit, the size of it would make it handy for travelling or for popping into you handbag in case of wind-based emergencies but I can't help feeling a bit childish when I use it! If you have hair that's easy to manage, I'm certain this brush would do the job just fine but for really-bloody-difficult-to-manage thick hair it's a bit wimpy.

Soz brush. You tried to battle my locks, you tried.


Without wanting to end on a negative note, I will say that, overall, I was mightily impressed with my first My Little Box :) I'll definitely be keeping the subscription going because it was just so lovely to receive this little box of sunshiny treats in the post and to have that moment of excitement when delving through all the layers!

(Oh and there's that balloon all blown up! Love it.)

Whether it continues to be good value for money (at almost £15/month, incl. p&p, it's not the cheapest box out there) remains to be seen... but I am already super excited for what next month has to offer && I'll be sure to let you know all about it once it arrives :)

Do you have any recommendations for fun, not necessarily beauty-based subscription boxes? I'd love to know in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



We're almost into Spring (almost, almost... hang in there guys!) which means the Winter jumpers are beginning their annual migration to the back of the wardrobe and, if you're anything like me, you're discovering you don't quite remember how to dress yourself without relying on your ever-faithful comfy knitwear collection. Eeek.

Thankfully, there are some lovely new season pieces popping up in all the shops for you to take your pick from, and I for one have been stocking up on some new bits and pieces to see me through Spring :)

Here's my fresh little haul of Spring clothes, if you'd like to take a look...

Zara


Zara have so many beautiful, delicate pieces in at the moment that, when I walked into one of their stores recently, I had to practise some serious self-restraint. I'm a big fan of the whole soft white/khaki combo for this time of year, so I picked up a couple of pieces that I thought would not only work well together, but also work well with existing items in my wardrobe. 


I love this little top, as it's so floaty and fresh for spring and can easily be paired with shorts and dungarees when it eventually gets a bit warmer. 


These khaki jeans, on the other hand, were quite a bold move for me! In general, I don't really like the way I look in jeans so buying these was a bit of a punt...but they are gorgeously soft, very flattering and the little detailing on the sides makes you feel kinda badass when you wear them! I was pleasantly surprised when I tried them for the first time :)


Here, I've paired this outfit with my new loafers from H&M. You can find their link further down!


H&M


H&M
 1// loafers 2// chinos 3// pink tee 4// black tee 5// white tee 


6// satin vests 7// briefs


8// striped jersey 9// boots (jeans from ASOS, see below)


H&M is always my go-to shop when it comes to basics and everyday essentials. For Spring, I stocked up on t-shirts, camis and knickers (!) 'cos I feel you can never have too many of either. Btw, whilst we're talking about undies, I've always found the H&M multipacks of briefs to be incredibly useful- you can buy packs of these simple but pretty lace knickers (they come in 5s) for just £7.99... amazing! And very good value in this world of ridiculously-priced under garments! I highly recommend. 

ASOS


Last but not least, I popped over to ASOS to get a few more essentials that I couldn't find in H&M. These jersey joggers are a dream. I got them in Petite, as I always struggle with tapered joggers and the subsequent floppy ankle situation, and they fit me just perfectly! I love to have a plain pair of black joggers lurking in my wardrobe because you can either slop about in them and just have them as loungewear or you can dress them up with a nice jumper and heels (yes, heels!) for a comfy yet formal look. The best of both worlds in my opinion!  



And that's it! All my little wardrobe additions for Spring :) Have you been shopping recently and seen any staple pieces you think will be on trend this year? I'd love to know in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Zara, H&M + ASOS Spring Clothing Haul

Tuesday, 8 March 2016


We're almost into Spring (almost, almost... hang in there guys!) which means the Winter jumpers are beginning their annual migration to the back of the wardrobe and, if you're anything like me, you're discovering you don't quite remember how to dress yourself without relying on your ever-faithful comfy knitwear collection. Eeek.

Thankfully, there are some lovely new season pieces popping up in all the shops for you to take your pick from, and I for one have been stocking up on some new bits and pieces to see me through Spring :)

Here's my fresh little haul of Spring clothes, if you'd like to take a look...

Zara


Zara have so many beautiful, delicate pieces in at the moment that, when I walked into one of their stores recently, I had to practise some serious self-restraint. I'm a big fan of the whole soft white/khaki combo for this time of year, so I picked up a couple of pieces that I thought would not only work well together, but also work well with existing items in my wardrobe. 


I love this little top, as it's so floaty and fresh for spring and can easily be paired with shorts and dungarees when it eventually gets a bit warmer. 


These khaki jeans, on the other hand, were quite a bold move for me! In general, I don't really like the way I look in jeans so buying these was a bit of a punt...but they are gorgeously soft, very flattering and the little detailing on the sides makes you feel kinda badass when you wear them! I was pleasantly surprised when I tried them for the first time :)


Here, I've paired this outfit with my new loafers from H&M. You can find their link further down!


H&M


H&M
 1// loafers 2// chinos 3// pink tee 4// black tee 5// white tee 


6// satin vests 7// briefs


8// striped jersey 9// boots (jeans from ASOS, see below)


H&M is always my go-to shop when it comes to basics and everyday essentials. For Spring, I stocked up on t-shirts, camis and knickers (!) 'cos I feel you can never have too many of either. Btw, whilst we're talking about undies, I've always found the H&M multipacks of briefs to be incredibly useful- you can buy packs of these simple but pretty lace knickers (they come in 5s) for just £7.99... amazing! And very good value in this world of ridiculously-priced under garments! I highly recommend. 

ASOS


Last but not least, I popped over to ASOS to get a few more essentials that I couldn't find in H&M. These jersey joggers are a dream. I got them in Petite, as I always struggle with tapered joggers and the subsequent floppy ankle situation, and they fit me just perfectly! I love to have a plain pair of black joggers lurking in my wardrobe because you can either slop about in them and just have them as loungewear or you can dress them up with a nice jumper and heels (yes, heels!) for a comfy yet formal look. The best of both worlds in my opinion!  



And that's it! All my little wardrobe additions for Spring :) Have you been shopping recently and seen any staple pieces you think will be on trend this year? I'd love to know in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


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