Friday, 30 March 2012

Monthly favourites

Can you believe it's the last day of March already?  This year is just flying by...and I still have so much I need to do before my wedding in November!

As it's the last day of March, I thought I would do a little round up of my favourite things...

* Food:
Almond milk - now I know this might not be classed as a 'food' item but I really have been loving this on my cereals so thought it made sense to include it!  It really is nutritious and has so many health benefits.  I cut out cow's milk from my diet a few year's ago and made the switch to soy milk, but now that I found this delicious milk I'll definitely be buying it more often.  I even made my own almond milk after seeing the recipe on Linda Wagner's blog, where she definitely inspired me to branch out and be more adventurous with milk!
                                                                          image via here
* Skincare:
Johnson's Daily Essential Hydrating Day Cream.  First off, I really like the packaging of this product - simple and cute, with the bonus of having SPF 15 already in the moisturiser also. It doesn't appear to have a scent (I'm not really a fan of cream's with scents!).  It really feels refreshing on the skin and does not feel heavy at all. It also lasts quite a while, bonus!


Coloured denim was huge this month!  I really like this trend though, and think it's perfect for spring.  I've got my eye on these coral skinny ones from Dorothy Perkins, now only £20.00

If anyone is doing a monthly favourites let me know, I'd love to read them.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Tuesday treat - Jaffa Cake cheesecake!

Now this is an extremely naughty Tuesday treat!

I was watching a new show on Channel 4 on the weekend called Sunday Brunch and they were making this amazing dessert, combining two of my current favourite treats - Jaffa Cakes and cheesecake!


I was so excited when I saw this recipe, and sat with my mouth watering, even looking at the picture of the cake is making me hungry...

So I thought I'd share this recipe in case anyone missed it

Here goes..

Serves 10

For the base
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g sugar
  • 50g plain flour
For the filling
  • 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 350g full fat soft cheese
  • 350g ricotta
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g cocoa powder
For the Jaffa layer
  • 1 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 275ml boiling water
  • 135g packet orange jelly
For the chocolate top
  • 200ml double cream
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted
  • 20g butter, unsalted


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. For the base, place the eggs and sugar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Beat with an electric whisk for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, sieve in the flour and beat well. Spoon into a 24cm greased and lined baking tin and bake for about 12-15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150°C/fan 120°C/gas mark 1½.
  3. For the filling, place the chocolate in a bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the cheeses and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, then the cocoa and the melted chocolate.
  5. Spoon onto the cooked base and cook for about 1 hour until springy to the touch. Leave the cheesecake in the oven, but turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes - 1 hour.
  6. To make the Jaffa layer, in a bowl mix the marmalade, boiling water and jelly until dissolved. Pour into a 20cm cake tin lined with clingfilm, to about 1cm deep. Allow to set, then lift out and sit on top of the cheesecake.
  7. For the chocolate topping, in a saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to the boil then pour over the melted chocolate and butter and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour over the cheesecake and refrigerate to chill and set.
  8. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin then slice and serve.

It seems like a lot of ingredients but hopefully it'll be worth it, I can't wait to give it a go!


Monday, 26 March 2012

my weekend...

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

The weather was glorious in Wales (quite rare, the weather has been so dull and foggy lately), so needless to say I made the most of the sunshine!

Here are a few pics of my weekend...

my first creme egg of the year - bring on Easter!

this is my view from my office - a beautiful blossom tree

me and my mother enjoying the sunshine

a nice sunday pub lunch
new purchases for my kitchen

a delicious coffee cake and a cup of tea to end the day!


Friday, 23 March 2012

Fashion Friday - Mango spring inspired outfit

I've always been a massive fan of the high street shop Mango - they offer a range of fashion items that are both trendy and have that european chic feel that I love!

With the beautiful and very cool Kate Moss currently starring as the face of Mango (as seen on the picture below)...I was inspired to create a spring outfit featuring a few items that I would love to buy!

I can just imaging myself wearing this on to a BBQ - drinking fresh lemonade and enjoying a juicy burger...
Mango spring outfit

Now all I need to do is to plan the perfect BBQ!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

wedding wednesday

I'm getting married in around 8 months time, so it's time to start making a decision on what kind of invitations I want for my big day!  I'm undecided at the moment whether to go for something classic, or something a bit more unique and fun.

On my hunt to find the perfect wedding stationery, I've stumbled upon these two websites - who both offer a fantastic selection of designs and seem to tick the boxes of what I'm looking for.

* First up is Something Kinda Cute who I first heard of when I attended a wedding fayre back in early March.  They offer vintage inspired stationery, both quirky and fun!  I definitely want a fun, relaxed wedding, so these type of invitations would be ideal for that theme.  There's lots of different designs to look through, but here are a couple which stood out for me

* The next website is Paper Themes who offer a huge variety of designs, and really vary from price so you can pick a design which matches your budget.  I found ones here which have that classic feel, and there are some really elegant options available.  Here are three that stood out for me!

Is anyone else having trouble deciding wedding stationery?  There are so many lovely ones to choose from where do we begin!


Monday, 19 March 2012

Last few day's in pics...

I really wanted to take lots of photos this weekend and share them on here....but my weekend turned out to be a bit crazy and I basically spent it all in the hospital - my fiance broke his leg on Saturday morning!

I thought lots of pictures of hospital curtains and waiting rooms wouldn't really have been the most exciting thing to look at... are a few pics of the last few days (mostly involving food...ooops)

I still love that I can stumble upon hidden gems like this in Cardiff

Loving the new look Company magazine

Yummy Ben & Jerry's ice cream

My new Topshop bracelets

A good book

I made chocolate cupcakes!

Last but not fiance's broken leg...oh dear

Hope everyone had a better weekend than I did!!


Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday things - bracelets and bangles!

I'm going through a phase of wearing bracelets at the moment - and not just a little one on my wrist but quite a few stacked up! 

I'm also loving the trend for chunky jewellery, especially gold chain bracelets which you can find in quite a few high street shops and online stores at the moment. 

My inspiration for this particular post comes from Lauren Conrad, who loves to wear her friendship bracelets all stacked together as modelled beautifully in this picture below...

                                                           image via here

So here are my current favourites which I probably will be purchasing very soon!

*  This threaded gold and black chain bracelet comes from Warehouse, and is now only £5.00

*  A slightly different look here is the aztec print wicker thread bangle from ASOS at £10.00.  The aztec print is still on trend and it's worth purchasing a smaller item like a bangle if you're a bit wary of wearing this print on a clothing item

*  This gold funnel stretch bracelet from Topshop is £8.50 and would work really well with an evening outfit, such as a classic black dress

*  Here's a fun little bracelet that is similar to the ones that Lauren Conrad would wear, it's from ASOS and is a plastic bead bracelet at a bargain price of £6.00

*  This double bracelet is £5.99 from Mango. I just love the turquoise colour of the stones, but it also comes in a gold and pink!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mother's day gift ideas

If like me you're a bit stuck on what to buy for Mother's Day this Sunday (for the UK), here are some little inspirational ideas which might help!

*  These hand creams from L'Occitane are so smooth and smell delicious.  I have the cocoa flower hand cream - it's lasted for ages and makes my hand feel so soft afterwards!

*  For something a little bit more unique, how about these personalised glasses case from not on the high street at £18

*  Another lovely gift idea from not on the high street is the Pamper Me Bath Time gift box, available in three fragrances - English Rose, Orchard Fruits and Patchouli and Lavender

*  Why don't you have a look at what treats your local hotels and restaurants are offering?  The Vale Resort is a gorgeous hotel not far from Cardiff, who are offering a Mother's Day Break package from £89.  This package includes:
  • 1 night luxury accommodation
  • Full Welsh breakfast
  • Full day use of relaxation facilities in the Spa
  • Feel Good Facial (25 minute)
  • Express Manicure (25 minute)
  • Afternoon tea in the Spa
  • Use of extensive leisure facilities including 20m pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool bath and gym
  • FREE parking
If you want to pamper your mum this is such a lovely treat!

What are you buying for your mum on Mother's Day?


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Chickpea, tomato and spinach curry

I’m always on the lookout for a way to include more vegetables and pulses in my food. I’m not claiming to be a vegetarian – I eat chicken, turkey and pork – but I do try to avoid red meat when I can (although I do love a good spag bol now and again!)

Even though I do eat meat, I always prefer eating fish really and also tend to go for the vegetarian or fish option when I’m out at a restaurant. When it comes to a good curry, I love finding vegetarian ones I can try out – so when I found this recipe through Good Food magazine, I couldn’t wait to try it! 

Here's what mine turned out like! Please excuse the slightly chipped bowl...

Here’s the list of ingredients you will need:

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (although I used 3!)
3cm piece ginger, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes (I used 4 because the ones I bought were massive)
½ tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp yeast extract e.g. marmite
4 tbsp red lentils
6 tbsp coconut cream
1 broccoli head, broken into pieces
400g chickpeas, drained
100g spinach
1 lemon, halved
1tbsp toasted sesame seeds mixed with 1 tbsp chopped cashew nuts

Ok, after getting all those ingredients ready, here’s how to cook your curry:

1) Put the onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes in a food processor and whizz into a puree
2) Put oil in a pan. Fry the spices for a few seconds, then add the puree and yeast extract and let it simmer for about 2 minutes
3) Add the lentils and coconut cream, cook lentils until tender
4) Add broccoli and simmer for about 4 mins. Stir in chickpeas and spinach and let simmer again for a few minutes
5) Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, then sprinkle the sesame and cashew mixture on top
6) Serve with rice and enjoy!

Does anyone else prefer vegetarian curries to meat ones?


Monday, 12 March 2012

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Mac is back!

Now that spring weather has finally arrived, it's time to pack away those winter coats and invest in a lighter jacket for those (slightly) warmer days

I personally love a trench coat, or a mac as some people might call them!

They are light, classic and are a very good staple item for your wardrobe

I've picked a few of my current favourite high street trench coats, here they are:

- Let's start off with this little gem of a bargain from Matalan at only £16.  This one is slightly shorter than your normal trench coat, and comes in a lovely blue colour, adding a pop of colour to your outfit (it also comes in red), and I love the little detail on the turned out sleeve!

- Next up is this brown double breasted coat from Dorothy Perkins at £25.  This one comes in a brown colour, with a leopard print lining on the inside.  I especially love the details on the arms with the buckle on the ends

- On the pricier side of the scale is this one from Zara at £69.99.  This one is much more classic looking, and comes in navy, black or camel.  I would be more than happy to pay a little bit more when it comes to a trench coat -  it's a very good investment piece that it likely to be in your wardrobe for years to come!

- The most expensive one comes from Lauren by Ralph Lauren (found here at John Lewis) at £275.  If you really want to treat yourself this is a good one to pick!  It also stands out a bit from your normal trench coat with the contrasting leather collar


Friday, 9 March 2012

five things friday

It's finally Friday!

I'm looking forward to having a nice quiet weekend, filled with watching films...going for walks....eating lots of good food (and maybe a cheeky bowl of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that is currently in my freezer taunting me)

Here are my current 5 things that are keeping a smile on my face...

* this gorgeous picture from Jewel Mint - I want the watch and bracelets!

* the Marni at H&M collection - these pink shorts are perfect for summer days

* I love that Kate Middleton wore this teal LK Bennett suit - the peplum style jacket is very 'of the moment' and really suits an athletic figure like Kate's

                                                                      daily mail 

* I had to share this gorgeous golden retriever pup with you...
                                                                  image via pinterest

*last but not least, here's a picture of the delicious cupcake I had whilst attending the Something Kinda Vintage wedding fair on Sunday (I mentioned this fair in a previous post)


Thursday, 8 March 2012

blog name change...

I've decided it's time to change the title of my blog....

The idea behind the old name at first came from the simple things I love, such as sitting down with a lovely cup of tea and piece of toast whilst catching up on the latest fashion and beauty news and also my favourite blogs...

I've noticed a few blogs with similar names to now, and now that I feel more confident in continuing to blog I feel as though a name change to differentiate myself would be appropriate


My blog is now called...Peanuts and Pearls


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

baby bump bonanza!

I don't know whether it's because a few of my friends have recently had babies, or it's because I am slightly on the broody side (ssh!) but I've been very excited to see the following lovely pregnant ladies gracing the cover of fashion magazines...

* Sienna Miller has been a bit quiet lately, only being pictured now and again with her lovely boyfriend Tom, but now we all know why she's been hiding from the media glare- she's expecting a baby!

I personally can't wait to see what she wears as her cute little bump gets bigger. 

She is going to be one stylish yummy mummy

Here she is appearing on the April cover for British Vogue, looking rather gorgeous...

                                                                image via

* Another lovely lady (who's due very soon) is Jessica Simpson, who is on the April cover of Elle proudly showing off her lovely bump in a very Demi Moore-esque pose

                                                               image via 

Both ladies look amazing...I can't wait to see what baby names they have for their little ones!