Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Lifestyle: Prairie Charms Unicorn Club



A couple of weeks ago I was browsing Twitter when I saw that Prairie Charms had been sending out hair ties in a Unicorn fabric to some of their mystery bag subscribers. I obviously replied with all the heart eye emoji's along with a couple of other bloggers, so Prairie Charms decided to make a unicorn fabric filled goody bag, with so many of us on board Unicorn Club was born.

I had to wait a while for the delivery but last week I finally received my pink sparkly package and it was 100% worth the wait. Everything inside was like a magical dream.







There were five hair items all together, which is amazing value as I only paid £12 for the entire lot, including an additional cute little unicorn necklace (aka my official Club Unicorn membership). Cutest thing ever.

The hair items included were two small bows on clips, a midi bow, a larger bow, two different sized hair scrunchies and a beautiful knot wrap. I'm so in love with everything that I have had unicorns in my hair since the day my package arrived, despite the strange looks I have been getting at work. Unicorns are cool, okay?







I think my favourite has to be the large bow, as I have been wearing underneath a messy bun. It looks super cute and is such a quick and easy style to do. Closely following that is the larger of the scrunchies as I have been using that to tie up my messy bun on the days I haven't used the bow.

I loved everything so much I have already ordered two more things from the since. I think a new obsession has begun. Have you ever bought anything from Prairie Charms? 

Kirsty Leannee xx
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lifestyle: Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes



Last Friday I hosted a Macmillan Coffee Morning at work. I thought it would be rude not to make anything at all, so I took it as a bit of a challenge and did a spot of baking.

I wanted to do something with loads of chocolate as I was really craving it, so I created these (messy) Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes. They were so quick and easy to make, even for a baking novice like me. Everyone at work loved them and I have already got people asking me to make more!


Ingredients

Cupcakes

135g Self Raising Flour
40g Cocoa Powder
175g Unsalted Butter
175g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
1tbsp Baking Powder
Water

 Topping

400g White Chocolate
200g Milk Chocolate 
1 Packet of Oreos

Recipe

1) Mix the cocoa powder and water together until it forms a paste.

2) Add the eggs and sugar and mix until you get a smooth mixture, then add the butter and repeat. 

3) Sift the flour into the mixture, carefully folding it in to create a light and fluffy sponge. 

4) Divide the mixture equally between 24 cake cases and bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes. 
Tip: If you want to check they're cooked stick a knife in the middle of one of the cupcakes, if it comes out clean then they're done. 

5) Once the cupcakes have cooled break the white chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave, stiring it every minute or so. It took around 2 minutes 30 seconds for me, however I think it will depend on the chocolate you have. 

6) Pour the white chocolate onto top of each cupcakes making sure to cover them evenly. Quickly place an Oreo on the top before the chocolate sets, pushing it down so that it stays in place. 

7) Once the white chocolate has melted melt the milk chocolate in the same way. Drizzle as much chocolate as you would like over the top of the cupcakes. I choose to go for quite a lot and it turned out quite messy, which I don't think looks too bad.
Tip: Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate, you'll get a thinner line. 

Let me know if you decide to make your own Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes. I'd love to see your pictures! 

Kirsty Leanne xx


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Friday, 25 September 2015

Events: West Midlands Blogger Meet Goody Bag

If you read my recent post, you will know that Adele and I hosted the West Midlands Blogger Meet last Saturday. We spent months and months prior to the day planning the event, which included contacting brands to see if they wanted to be involved in the goody bags we would be handing out on the day.

I was completely overwhelmed by the response we both got and I am still in shock of the generosity of the brands involved, so of course I wanted to do a post to thank everyone.

The aim of our goody bags at our events is to find the brands that you may never of heard of, but we know you will love after you try them. We also wanted a mixture of both beauty and lifestyle, so there was something in the goody bags for everyone.

So, here are the brands that contributed to the goody bags and some raffle prizes:


 Beauty




Lifestyle


I’d also like to say thank you to the other brands that got involved by donating a raffle prize or testers for the day, these were:


Thank you so much to all the brands involved, you made the event a success. Have you been to an event recently? I'd love to see your posts! 

Kirsty Leanne xx
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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Lifestyle: Laughing Cow Mini Cravings Taste Test



Last week a really exciting parcel turned up at my door - a selection of the new Laughing Cow Mini Cravings. I am a BIG cheese eater, so naturally I was very excited to receive them. These tasty little squares of cheese are something I have seen while out shopping but I kept forgetting to pick them up, however the lovely people at Laughing Cow have given me the chance to try all of the flavours.

There are three different packs all together, each with 24 cubes and all with different flavours in.  There is a pack with all original squares; one with cheddar, smoked cheese and blue cheese and a pack with ham and cheese, garlic and herb and three cheese.




Now, I have recently started back on plan at Slimming World so for me snacking has to be kept to a minimum, and if I do snack it has be counted. The what’s beauty of these Mini Cravings? They are only 14 calories each (that’s only ½ a syn for us Slimming World folk!). 

Of course I had to taste test every flavour, but I was so happy I was able to do this and stay within my syns limit of 15 a day. 

My favourite flavours had to be the cheddar, smoked cheese and original flavours. The cheddar square is so cheesey, it’s delicious. It’s like cheese on cheese on cheese, so you can’t go wrong.  The original is a lot like a cheese triangle, just it’s a little smaller and the smoked cheese has a really nice taste to it. 

As my Dad is a huge fan of cheese I shared the rest of my Mini Cravings with him on the drive to the West Midlands Blogger Meet last Saturday. Every time we stopped at traffic lights or in traffic he would quickly open one and said knowing they were there and he couldn’t just grab one was driving him crazy - so I think that means he was enjoying them just a little!

These are absolutely perfect for anyone on a calorie-controlled diet or those who love cheese as they definitely help with those cheese cravings.  Have you tried them yet?


Kirsty Leanne xx

*These were kindly sent for me to taste and review by the lovely people at Laughing Cow, but don't worry! All opinions are my own. 
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Events: West Midlands Blogger Meet

Photo Credit


On Saturday me and Adele (Adele Louise Smith) hosted our first ever Pretty Lovely Bloggers event, the West Midlands Blogger Meet. Although I had hosted an event before, this one was a lot bigger and required A LOT more planning than before so I was much more nervous.

After four months of planning the big day finally arrived and me and Adele heading off to the venue, the Rainbow in Birmingham, nice and early ready to set up.  As we live so far away from each other we still had goody bags to fill so we made a human conveyer belt with my parents, filling a section of the bag each.



We’d set up the room so that the mini stage was free for speakers, the brands that attended had the surrounding tables, the raffle was at the end of the tables and the bloggers could chat and walk around.  We had Get You Seen PR, Skinsinscere, Earlybird and Coppafeel attend on the day, all of which had a little something different for the bloggers to see.







We also used every surface possible (including the bar) and set up loads of different food and drink options from our generous brands including Say Yes to No, Zeo, Life Tonics, Tasty Little Numbers, Nugget and Mallow, Little Miracles and Virtue.

We also had a table with a selection of products to try including Skindinavia, Crystal Spring, Lyonsleaf and our Pretty Lovely Bloggers leaflets from StressFreePrint.





We held a raffle that raised money for the amazing charity Mind and over all we were able to raise £93 - amazing! Thank you so much to everyone who bought a ticket and congratulations to all of the winners!



There were also two speakers on the day Elizabeth (Rosalilium) and Chelsea (Loving Life in Wellies). First Elizabeth spoke about optimising your Pinterest for your blog, something I really need to do. Chelsea gave a talk about bloggers and brands, which was also really interesting. Thank you so much to both speakers; it was such a lovely touch to the event.






After the speakers both brands and bloggers had the chance to interact, giving me a chance to speak to everyone, including all of the lovely bloggers I hadn’t met before. Just before the meet was about to end Adele and I drew the raffle tickets and I was lucky enough to win the thing I wanted most - a selection of goodies from Tasty Little Numbers.



Before everyone left we handed out the two goody bags, a rather heavy one from a range of different brands and a smaller one from LUSH Birmingham.  I’ll be doing a post on the fabulous brands involved in them tomorrow, so keep an eye out!

I just want to say a huge thank you to the venue, the brands and to the speakers for making the event such a success. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who came, it was so lovely meeting the faces behind the twitter profiles I have been stalking in the run up to the day. I’d also like to thank my parents for driving me and my thousands of boxes to the event and for sticking around to help on the day, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Finally, thank you to Adele and her Mum for driving all the way from Salisbury to Birmingham and thank you to Adele for hosting the event with me. It started as one of our many ideas and grew to something amazing, the start of Pretty Lovely Bloggers and I am so happy I get to do it all with my best friend.

We have a couple of events coming up: one on the 10/10/2015 in Bristol and our Christmas event on 28/11/2015 in Birmingham. If you’re interested in either visit the Pretty Lovely Bloggers twitter and fill out the form in the bio and then send me a quick email on k.colclough92@gmail.com to say which event you’d like an invite to.


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Monday, 21 September 2015

Lifestyle: Easy Jam Tart Recipe



After a busy weekend and a healthy week, I thought I deserved a little tasty treat. I really fancied something sweet and as I looked through my cupboards I realised I had all of the ingredients to make Jam Tarts, especially as I had just been gifted some Raspberry and Redcurrant Jam from Posh Pickles*. Which is absolutely delicious, by the way.

This recipe only took around 45 minutes to make all together, which is perfect for when you fancy something homemade but don't have a lot of time. So if you want to have a go yourself, here's what I did...



Ingredients

150g of plain flour

75g of unsalted butter

3tbsp of caster sugar

1 egg yolk

Pinch of salt 

Cold water

1 Jar of Posh Pickles Raspberry and Redcurrant Jam

Recipe

1) Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter up into small squares and rub the flour into it until it looks like breadcrumbs.

2) Add the caster sugar and egg yolk to the mixture, stirring it with a wooden spoon into it starts to stick together.

3) One at a time, add a tbsp of cold water to the mix, helping to bind it together. 

4) Knead the dough a few times then place in the fridge for fifteen minutes. While the pastry is in the fridge set the oven to Gas Mark 5 or 185 degrees. 

5) Sprinkle some flour onto your kitchen work surface and using a rolling pin evenly roll out the pastry. Using a round cookie cutter cut 12 circles for the jam tarts. 

6) Grease a cupcake tray and place each of the pastry circles into each of the spaces. 

7) Fill each of the pastry cases with Jam, making sure it is below or level with the top of the pastry, otherwise spills over (like mine, oops)

8) Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

9) Enjoy! (but not as soon as you take them out the oven, as you'll burn your mouth, which may or may not be speaking from experience...)

If you do decide to try out my recipe I would love to see some pictures! You can tweet them to me on @KirstyLeannee92.  I think I need to invest in some more cookie cutters, as I wanted to put pastry hearts on the top of mine, which is something you could try too!

Kirsty Leanne xx
* I was kindly gifted the Posh Pickles Jam at the West Midlands Blogger Meet.


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Friday, 18 September 2015

Lifestyle: Holiday Memories

If there is one thing I love, it’s going on Holiday with my friends or family. I don’t get the chance to go often as money is always an issue, but when I do, the memories I make there are unforgettable.  Below, are some of my favourite holiday memories that I have been able to catch on camera…



The first image is a picture of me and my best friend from America, Roxana. I was in California with her at the time and she took me to Laguna Beach to see the sunset, something that has been on my bucket list for a long time. We made some tuna pasta, packed snacks and headed off to the beach for one of the best nights I have had in a long time.

Before it started to get dark we went exploring on the rocks, almost getting trapped in by the sea as we went too far out. It was a little scary, and of course I panicked, but we managed to find our way back in the end with the help of her boyfriend. Watching the sunset on Laguna Beach was absolutely amazing and surreal; I just had to capture this perfect photo.

This is memory is one that is extremely special to me because I haven’t been able to see Roxana since 2012 as we live 1000’s of miles apart. We make time to Face Time every when we can, but having such a close friend live so far away is so hard and is why I cherish every memory we have together.

The next photo is a picture of me and my boyfriend on holiday in Venice. Last year my better half surprised me with a trip to Italy for Valentines Day as our first holiday together, and to date,  it is one of my favourite holidays I’ve had so far. Obviously the trip was in February, so the weather was absolutely terrible. It rained the entire time and the place was flooded so much that we had to travel everywhere by boat walk on little platforms to get around.

This picture was taken after a huge rainstorm (explains the hair and makeup) and we stopped to have something to eat. My boyfriend is eating a huge piece of white chocolate that he just had to buy at the time, god knows why! Just as I was about to take a selife he shoved it in his mouth and jumped in the picture, making it one of my favourite photos of the holiday.

Every time I look at this picture it reminds me that no matter what a holiday can throw at us, we always know how to have fun. We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits once and enjoyed every second we spent in Venice.

In my first year of University I met some amazing people, however one of my closest friends had to move back to Boston at the end of the year. So, when I was in California (you can read more about that here) I took advantage of being in the states and flew to Boston before heading home.

I was only there for a few days, but being able to see the things she had been telling me about her home down was absolutely amazing. I love anything to do with America so being able to see the smaller, lesser-known places was an absolute dream for me.

While staying there we went on a day trip to Natick to go pumpkin and apple picking. It was coming up to the end of September so it was the perfect time, not to mention everything looked stunning as the leaves were starting to change colour. I LOVE Autumn so much, and it is super pretty in Boston.

This picture is my favourite from the trip and one of my favourites of all time because it reminds me of the amazing time I got to spend with one of my closest friends. We don’t get to see each other often as she is living in London with her husband (another of my close friends and one of my flatmates from University, who she met in our halls!) but whenever we do speak it is like there is no distance at all.

The final picture is a really old one, but possibly my favourite picture of all time. It’s a picture of me, my sister and my brother sat on a wall at the harbour in Penzance, Cornwall. Cornwall is my favourite place in the UK (I’m a beach-y person, if you hadn’t guessed already) and we didn’t get to go there on family holidays often as it is so far away from the Midlands!

I think in this picture I was about eight or nine, but it seems like it was just yesterday, especially my brother carrying around his Pilchard teddy everywhere. SO CUTE.

I haven’t been on holiday with my family since 2007, however this picture makes me think about the amazing times we did have and gets me excited for our first holiday with us all together again next year. I don’t think I could ever grow out of going on holiday with my family and I wish I could do it every year.


So, there are my favourite holiday memories so far. What are some of yours?

Kirsty Leanne xx


* This post was in collaboration with Love Holidays
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