Sunday, 27 June 2010

Say hello to my little friend...

Guys are lucky because they get to grow moustaches. I wish I could. It's like having a little pet for your face -Anita Wise
This is Marley, my Russian Dwarf. I took her home from the pet shop about... I forget how long ago. I should know this. I have a certificate somewhere. Maybe 4 months. Anyway, Marley kind of hates people and will BITE YOUR ARM OFF if you go anywhere near her. Once while filling up her food bowl, she LUNGED herself at my hand and bit so hard that it drew blood! I whimpered. It's impossible to hate her back though because she is so incredibly sweet. She spends half her day running on her wheel, and another chunk of time hanging out in her pet-shaped dust bath rolling around and grooming herself.
Lately, because of the really hot weather, she's taken to sleeping outside of her little house and will nod off in her running wheel instead. At first I thought she was sick because she was sat there on her bottom looking quite lethargic, but when you disturbed her, she would be wide awake and bright eyed all over again, and she would only ever sleep there when it was very hot outside. I've been trying everything I can to keep her cool without going overboard. She's only tiny and I don't want her to catch a cold or anything :-| Here is a picture of her falling asleep, on her bottom, in her wheel:

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Oven-baked risotto (gluten-free, of course)

We signal the captain, taking time out against the wall. He frowns. He groans. His feet hurt. His ulcer rages. He hates his wife. The risotto will take 25 minutes. Lasagne will take even longer. -Gael Greene
The night before I left Reading and headed back to Birmingham, I made oven-baked risotto for dinner. I really, really love this recipe. It is SO INCREDIBLY easy to make and I love creamy cheesy dishes like this. You can find the recipe here at bbcgoodfood.com. For some reason mine looks completely different to the picture shown on the website. I like to think that it looks BETTER and less... Crusty xD It's delicious, I promise. Don't let the photo on the actual recipe put you off!

When I make this I like to add TWO reasonably sized onions (I bloody love onions in cooked food, which would explain why I'm always adding more to any recipes I try to follow). I also like to add a load of frozen peas which not only makes it taste LOADS better, but means I get one of my five-a-day, too. I think that's about all I change with this recipe, I don't even bother to add any extra herbs or anything like that. It's pretty much perfect as it is. 

The recipe from bbcgoodfood.com makes about two night's worth of dinners for Jonathan and I, which, is just enough for us to not get bored. It's good for batches (3/4 nights) if you're anything like me and find cooking for one really dull and lonely and you'd rather just cook something at the start of the week that will last you till the end. I LOVE cooking, but only if I have somebody to share the experience~~~ with; Otherwise, I will just eat sausages every day for a week. I had a thing about sausages last semester. Sausages all day every day. Sausage sandwiches for breakfast, sausages for lunch, sausages and beans and a fried egg for dinner. The PERILS- that's right- PERILS of having a George Foreman that will quickly grill your sausages to perfection at the press of a button. 

I have a pack of sausages in the freezer that I'm trying to avoid. This obsession NEEDS TO END NOW.

P.s. For my fellow Coeliac-liver-withers, Knorr's chicken stock in the tub  (the yellow one), is gluten-free! (Although, please do check the labels for yourself just to be 100% sure) ^_^

Monday, 21 June 2010

I WON A GIVEAWAY! Chanel + Anya Hindmarch

YAY!
I WON A GIVEAWAY! A big thank you to Jen at A Little Bird Told Me for this giveaway ^_^ This is incredibly exciting! I won a bottle of Chanel's Orange fizz nail polish, the coveted colour for this summer, and a lovely canvas bag from Anya Hindmarch's summer collection. Wheee. I can't wait for them to arrive ^_^ I feel incredibly lucky to have won this. [Pictures have been taken from A Little Bird Told Me].
Of course if you haven't already, go and check out Jen's Blog-- It was featured on ASOS.com, and if that isn't reason enough to go and check it out, I don't know what is. She posts lots of different outfits from her daily life, and you're highly likely to find something that you like there. 

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Day in the Garden.

Don't wear perfume in the garden-- unless you want to be pollinated by bees. -Anne Raver.

My grandma likes to grow herbs, vegetables and fruits in the garden, and I love to use the things she grows as ingredients in my cooking. On Saturday I made Chicken Cacciatore for dinner with a side of roast potatoes that were sprinkled with parsley fresh from the garden (pictured below)!I also used fresh basil in the Cacciatore and it tasted so much better than when I make it with  the dried stuff. For the record, I love chicken Cacciatore, it's one of my favourite dishes to make and eat at the moment; there's a really good recipe for it here. The only difference is that I use TWO onions as opposed to one, and three to four cloves of crushed garlic as opposed to the listed two. I also add a teaspoon or so of Paprika, mixed herbs and brown sugar to cancel out the sourness from the tinned tomatoes. This dish is lovely served with rice, potatoes, vegetables, salad, and even pasta! 
We also have some strawberries growing in the garden and there's something very pleasing about eating strawberries you picked from the plant yourself. We also have some Lavender growing (not pictured), and I plan to make some Gluten-free lavender fairy cakes once they start flowering a little more. I found the recipe for the cakes in a magazine that I receive monthly from Coeliac.org.uk which is, I think, the leading Charity for Coeliac in the UK. When you're first diagnosed with Coeliac you can sign up to this website and you get 6 months free membership within which they will send you a Welcome pack, a Food and Drink directory for the year, and a monthly magazine filling you in on the latest Coeliac-orientated news. When I was first diagnosed it was really nice having an organisation like this providing you with all the information you need and more. It's also comforting knowing that there are many other people in the World who have to live with this condition, and can do so happily. 
While I took pictures of things in my garden, Jonathan worked on fixing my very old, very battered bike. The tires were flat, an inner tire was punctured, the right-hand gears wouldn't shift, my back tire was bent, and the handlebars were uneven. He spent four long hours working on it, and when he was finished it was just like new. He's my grumpy Knight in shining armour ^_^ Look how much fun he had fixing it:

Monday, 14 June 2010

CRAZY (&) in Love: HTC Desire.

In dreams and love there are no impossibilities. -Jason Arany
On Monday last week, a few hours before it was time for me to leave my boyfriend's house in Reading and go back home to Birmingham, a package arrived. I love opening packages and so I asked if I could do the honours.  I ripped the top off of it, put my hand inside, and found myself pulling out a brand new HTC Desire. I flung the box down on the bed while gaping at Jonathan in something that I will call a mixture of horror and awe. He then told me that it was mine and he was taking care of the contract. "Oh here, have a phone and a contract on me!". I didn't know what to say at first, and ended up crying a lot. I cannot stop thanking him for doing this for me. I wouldn't really be able to afford to do this for myself right now, and so it's really touching that he's done this.

The Desire is beautiful. The 3.7 inch screen is what is called an 'AMOLED' (Active-Matrix OLED) which, in the most basic terms means that it provides superior image quality, uses less battery power, and is better at coping with wear and tear. Everything looks absolutely crystal clear on the HTC Desire, and the depth of colour is incredible which, for me, makes choosing home-page backgrounds an addiction of sorts ^_^
Web-browsing on the Desire is an absolute breeze. When you first load up a website it will be scaled down to fit the length and width of the 3.7 inch screen, however, with a pinch of the fingers, you can zoom in, and then proceed to scroll Up, Down, Side to Side and even DIAGONALLY with a swipe of your finger-- it's very user friendly, as is the entire interface on the phone. I can do almost everything that I do on my laptop on the Desire-- In fact, I sometimes forget that what I'm holding in my hand *IS* indeed a mobile phone. Since having the phone, I've started using my Twitter account again, because it's always fun to Tweet on the move and with the 5 mega pixel camera, I can also take a nice picture to accompany my tweet ^_^ I've also set up my Gmail account, which means that I get e-mail alerts on the go. It's brilliant!

The phone itself is extremely pretty. It pained me making the decision to buy a protective case for it, but I managed to find one that doesn't overpower the cuteness too much, and it only cost me £3.50 from Amazon.co.uk. At the moment there isn't the greatest choice of accessories for the Desire and for this reason I feel slightly bitter towards the iPhone, with its endless array of skins and cases... One day my pretties, you will be mine. 

And now, back to ~~the giver of this amazing gift~~: He does absolutely everything he can to make me feel happy, cared for and safe. He called me up today while he was at work to tell me that he loves me. When he said it, I felt a little love explosion in my chest. You know that feeling where you want to cry, and scream I LOVE YOU and hug them and kiss them. Like that. My mind was blown. After my first poor excuse for a 'relationship', I doubted ever finding anybody that would actually care about me. This gift in particular is the cherry on top of the sparkling Victoria sponge cake of brilliance which is my husband-to-be ^_^ I intend to spoil him in return with kisses, chocolate cupcakes, good food, and a tidy bedroom when he gets home from work. Don't look at me like that, guys. I enjoy being a domestic goddess (when it suits me xD).

Tomorrow we'll have been together for 1 year and 10 months.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Glamour Magazine + Benefit

Most women's magazines simply try to mould women into bigger and better consumers -Gloria Steinem
Hi

So today I jumped on the Glamour + Benefit Bandwagon and picked up the full size Eye Bright and Bad Gal Eyeliner. I never normally buy magazines because since I was young they have left me feeling pretty depressed after reading-- as sad as it sounds, it was safer for my self-esteem to avoid them. Anyway, sob-story aside, I bought two copies of Glamour for £4 and bagged myself £28's worth of make-up. Honestly, I would never have bought these items at full price, but buying two magazines at £2 each for FREE Benefit items? Count me in. I've never used either of the items before, but I look forward to trying to Eye Bright ^_^

Monday, 7 June 2010

Geocaching on a grey (but otherwise pleasant) day in England

We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries everyday with new experience and character. Henry David Thoreau
So, you may remember me mentioning Geocaching* in a previous post, where boyfriend and I failed to find the two we had our sights set on in town. HOWEVER, on Saturday we finally found them! While signing the cache at St Mary's Butts (lol) we noticed a group of three other people looking slightly suspicious and realised, as we casually strolled away, that they were also Geocachers who were after the same cache! Our Geocaching adventures did not end there, however, and yesterday Jonathan and I went with a group of his Workmates to Chesham countryside to carry out a 5 hour Geocache hunt. See below for the millions of pictures I took but note that I won't personally be appearing in any of them because I'm the token picture-taking friend -_-'
We found ourselves wandering along what was labelled as a 'public footpath' through a field which housed a pair of horses. They were beautiful and I was in awe as I don't remember ever being so close to horses. I also stroked the one in the picture below on the nose. 

* "Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware container or ammo box) containing a logbook. Larger containers can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching is most often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek,"... Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.[1] As of June 6, 2010, there are over 1,092,192 active geocaches around the world. [2] " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching
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