Monday, 11 July 2016

Meal Plan Monday | 11th July 2016

Well this week is a bit of a fail, after travelling most of the day to Glasgow for a 30 minute appointment, working Saturday morning then having an acupuncture session that afternoon, I haven't had time to make up a meal plan this week.  I am writing this post this morning while eating breakfast, yep that is how organised I am! 

My meal plan this week is non-existent so your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what I will be eating for the next few days, all I know is that I'm having steak tonight as I bought a 2 pack of them on Saturday and will be needing used up.  Worry not, my freezer is stocked with things that I can eat so I won't waste away ;).

If you are better organised than me and wish to join in this week then add your post to the linky below.  I will be properly organised next week (I hope) and have my meal plan ready for Monday. Have a lovely week :)

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Friday, 8 July 2016

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

I do love a good scented candle and out of all of them that I've tried Yankee Candle is definitely my favourite; they have a long burning time, burn evenly and come in a huge variety of amazing scents.  I have even converted one of my friends to Yankee Candle as she said that they last so much longer than the cheaper ones you can buy in the shops.

Lighting a scented candle in the evening is one way that I unwind after a long day at work, I find it relaxing watching the glow of the candlelight in the room as well as the scent filling the air.  Just as I change my decor to the season, I love to change the scent to match whichever season it is; a spicy Apple scent for Autumn and a sweet festive one at Christmas time.  For the Summer months Yankee Candle have the Riviera Collection out, a range of fresh Summery fragrances with a touch of the Mediterranean.

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

The Riviera Escape 6 Votive House Gift Set £10.99 from Love Aroma is a pretty gift set, ideal either for a gift for a Yankee Candle lover or for yourself so you can sample each fragrance to see which one you like before purchasing a candle jar.  As the name suggests it contains 6 votives containing the Summer scents; Riviera Escape, Summer Peach, Sicilian Lemon, Olive & Thyme, Sea Salt & Sage and Lavender.  I tried each one and this is what I thought of the scents.

Riviera Escape
Is a fresh Oceanic scent which I love during the Summer months as it makes me think of clear blue seas and white sands, even when the weather in the UK is grey skies and chucking down with rain.  This was one of my favourites, it would also be an ideal scent to use in your bathroom all year round.

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

Summer Peach
This is a fruity scent and it reminded me on being sixteen and dousing myself in the Body Shop's Fuzzy Peach perfume, as you do at that age. I did find it quite overpowering when burning and not a fragrance I particularly enjoyed.

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

Sicilian Lemon
Another fruity scent that when sniffing it cold smells like Lemon Starburst sweets  (or Opal Fruits as I still sometimes call them) but on burning didn't throw off any scent at all.  I even changed the room it was burning in but sadly still never got that lemony scent when walking into the room.

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection

Olive & Thyme
Although this sounds a weird combination it does actually work, it smells of herbs with a hint of citrus and has a nice earthy aroma to it.  It made me think on how a rustic Italian kitchen might smell like.

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

Sea Salt & Sage
This was another lovely scent and had a more masculine fragrance to it as it smelled slightly of aftershave.  It had a sea salt aroma along with a slight citrus hint to it, if you know a male that loves candles then this scent would make a lovely gift for them (or even for yourself).

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

As the name would suggest the scent it gives off is Lavender, I'm not a huge fan of Lavender scented things but it is a perfect votive for burning in your bedroom as it does fill the air with a lavender aroma ready to relax you before bed.

Yankee Candle Riviera Collection Review

What's your favourite Yankee Candle scent?  Have you tried any of the above fragrances?

Also if you fancy buying a Yankee a Candle or two head to Love Aroma and use the code LIFEOFDEE at the checkout before 31 August 2016 and receive 20% off

I was sent these votives to review by Love Aroma but all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Monday, 4 July 2016

Meal Plan Monday | 4th July 2016

Meal Plan Monday Link Up

Happy 4th July to my American readers, hope you have a fantastic day whatever you get up to! Let me know what you get up to :).

Last week's menu plan was a bit of a fail due to the fact we have two cute furry new arrivals that have come to live with us.  We weren't looking to get a couple of kittens until after we have had our IVF, as we would need someone to look after them while we were away but after receiving a Facebook message on my day off from someone at work about two kittens that had came in for their first vaccinations and microchip looking for a home and would be ideal for me, well obviously I said yes! Wednesday night was a dash to Pets at Home to spend a fortune get bowls, scratching post, toys, litter trays, food and a carrier for the kittens as we got rid of most of Ben's things after he was put to sleep so can't even remember what I had but it was likely not very healthy and snacky.  As we didn't pick up the kittens until after 7pm on Thursday we dropped in by one of our local takeaways on our way home.  Who wants to cook when there is kittens to cuddle?!

I will do a blog post in the next couple of weeks introducing you to them, I don't even have a photo to show you as if they aren't fleeing around the room, climbing curtains and jumping around the sofa they are sleeping under the sofa even though there is a warm cosy bed for them to sleep in.

This week's menu plan is:

Monday - Burgers & Chips - seeing as it's the 4th July I decided to join in with the celebrations and eat an American themed meal.

Tuesday - BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl - from American themed to Mexican themed, basically it's a bowl of rice topped with BBQ pulled chicken, black beans, sweetcorn, salsa, guacamole & coconut yoghurt. Yum!

Wednesday - Pizza & Cake - it's my work's first birthday so we are having pizza & cake to celebrate once the practice shuts for the night.

Thursday - Mushroom Puffs - I never made these last week so will get round to doing it this week.

Friday - Down in Glasgow for the day as I have an appointment at the IVF clinic, I'm getting a uterine NK cell biopsy.  It's where they take a sample of my womb lining to check the natural killer levels, if it's greater than 5% I will need to take steroids and inject myself with clexane (a blood thinner) every day from embryo transfer until 12 weeks pregnant.  Will be eating out somewhere down there so if you know of any good places to eat then let me know.

Saturday - Working and then acupuncture in the afternoon so will have a takeaway as wont be bothered cooking.

Sunday - If it's a nice day (well we can but hope) we might have a BBQ as have loads of stuff in the freezer that needs using up.

What are you having this week? Remember and add your post to the Linky below :)

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Meal Plan Monday | 27th June 2016

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a lovely weekend? I was working yesterday but at least the weather has been lovely, well until around 5pm when it started to rain :(.  Another week gone by, I don't want to wish my life away but I'm glad that my overtime stint is over for a few more weeks and I am back to my normal hours.

Last week's meal plan didn't quite go to plan towards the end of the week as by Thursday I couldn't be arsed cooking so ordered a takeaway, had gluten free Arrabiata with a side salad. Omg it was spicy! Friday I had Tesco Free From Sweet & Sour Chicken, battered chicken balls which were quite nice along with some microwave fried rice and prawn crackers, Saturday and Sunday I had tapas dishes that I bought from M&S. Yum, they were good.

Hopefully I stick to the plan more this week :).  If you would like to join in this week (would love to have you), read all about it here and then add your blog post to the Linky below.

Monday - Red Thai Chicken Curry - working all day so it's a Charlie Higham meal that was on offer, never had red Thai curry before so hopefully it's nice :)

Tuesday - Spanish Chicken & Potatoes with Salad - working until 7pm again tonight, so another Charlie Higham meal.  I will be making the salad so I'm not totally lazy!

Wednesday - Taco Beans & Baked Sweet Potato - meant to have this last week and didn't so will be looking forward to having it.

Thursday - Mushroom, Puy Lentil & Butter Bean Burgers with Polenta Chips - I picked these burgers up in Tesco the other day, they are gluten free as well as being vegan so will let you know how they are next week.

Friday - Mushroom Puffs with Salad - depending on how this turns out I might do a blog post on it :), I've got a few packs of pastry in my freezer that need using up. You just fry some mushrooms in a sauce and cover them in pastry like sausage rolls. Not the healthiest of meals but sounds really tasty.

Saturday & Sunday - not decided yet as unsure what our plans are this weekend since I'm not working.

What are you having this week?

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Summer Homeware Haul

If you have followed me for a while then you know that I like to change my decor every season, I don't buy new things every season (sadly I am not rich) but I may come across something that catches my eye either while out shopping or in a charity shop that makes me think that will look good for Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter (delete as necessary).

Plum has been the colour of Summer and having had a few of the accessories for over 5 years I was getting a bit fed up of them, also I got a few things at Christmas that I hadn't yet used so thought that now would be the ideal time to use them and so my plum accessories have been packed up into a storage box in the garage until further notice.

To go with the glass vase, matching flower tealight holder and dish I got at Christmas (these are still in stock) I bought a fake orchid in a lovely mirrored cube vase (£16) from Next.  I really like orchids, I find them very pretty but unfortunately for some reason or another their survival rates with me are very poor as they all seem to die off.  Now I shall finally have an orchid that even I can't kill off!  I still have the plum cushions that I normally use in the Summer but I may replace these next year to a lighter colour such as cream or grey as I find it quite a dark colour.

Summer Homeware Haul

Now that the weather is supposed to be getting nicer I am hoping that we can eat outdoors more, I bought some new nautical themed melamine dinner and side plates, bowls and platters from Marks and Spencer which I bought when they had a 20% off day and I found some cute fish and crab napkin rings on eBay to match.  In Sainsburys I came across a set of 12 nautical striped cutlery for only £8, when I got home I discovered it was not the bargain I thought it was as the 12 pieces were for 3 settings.  Why only 3?! I could understand having 2 settings or 4 settings but not 3, I then had to buy another set so I now have enough for 6 people  (but only have 4 place settings with my plates and bowls, see my dilemma here?!).  Along with my blue wine glasses I bought in the Next sale last year I am all ready for some nautical themed Al Fresco dining, just need the weather to be nice now.

Summer Homeware Haul
Summer Homeware Haul
Summer Homeware Haul

Sticking with the outdoor theme I bought new solar lights as on a particularly windy day a few months ago, a gust of wind blew the outside table into the shrubs and broke the solar panel of the last set so they no longer worked.  I bought a set of 100 lights from Very for £24.99, I only buy things from there when they have a £30 off a £60 spend offer so technically they were free ;). The solar lights don't come on until 11pm as it doesn't start to get dark until then so this is how light it still is at 11.30pm up here.

Do you change your decor depending on the season?

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Meal Plan Monday | 20th June 2016

Meal Planning Monday Link Up

Well today is the longest day and from now on the nights are going to slowly creep in but what I want to know is, where is our Summer?! Apart from the odd nice day here and there (usually while I'm working), so far it's been pretty dire with being cold and wet so let's hope that nicer days are just around the corner. We have made a nice seated area in our garden where I had hoped we could sit out in an evening and eat our dinner but that's yet to happen.

Anyway less of my waffling about the weather, hope you all have had a lovely weekend? I was off this weekend but as I have been working extra hours it was sadly spent catching up with laundry and other houseworky tasks. When did my life get so boring?! As I'm working more hours this week, next weekend will be just as rock n roll, bet you are jealous?!

This week's meal plan isn't that exciting, I'm hoping to go to my Mum's on Wed and hoping that she will feed me while I'm there ;)

Monday - Chicken & King Prawn Paella - as well as being the longest day, it is also the longest day at work for me so a ready meal that can be shoved into the micro after an 11 hour shift is about all the energy I can muster.

Tuesday - Beef Steak with Chips & Salad - I picked these up from M&S the other week and froze them, they come with a chimichanga dressing so I'm hoping that they taste good.

Wednesday - not sure as hoping my Mummy will feed me ;)

Thursday - Taco Beans, Baked Sweet Potato & Salad - had these for the first time last week, topped them off with some coconut yoghurt instead of soured cream and they tasted sooo good.  Future blog post recipe I think.

Friday - Prawn Fajita Baked Sweet Potato with Salad - I'm working late so looking for something quick and easy to make.  I'm going to attempt to bake my sweet potatoes in the slow cooker so they will be ready for when I come home plus frying some prawns and veg takes no time at all.

Saturday - Takeaway - I'm working Saturday then going to acupuncture afterwards in Aberdeen, this means I don't get home until well after 4pm so a trip to our local Italian for some gluten free veggie pasta will be required as I just want to relax when I get home.

Sunday - Will pick up something while I'm out food shopping today.

Remember and join me for my link up below, just add your blog post of what you are having this week on the linky tool :)

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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Aberdeen | Jamie's Italian Review

Jamie's Italian Aberdeen

Last week I met up with two of my blogger chums Iga and Steff and headed to Jamie's Italian for some lunch.  Jamie's is situated near the Castlegate end of Union Street in what used to be the old E&M's building, a department store of years gone by.  Although I had never been to Jamie's before I know many who have and had heard mixed reviews about the food so I went with an open mind.

On entering the restaurant I noticed it had a relaxing and rustic feel to it with the wooden tables and floors, there was also a large terracotta screen that went around the staircase that looked like a huge wine rack.  After being shown to our seats and given menus to look at we were asked if we would like water, a huge carafe of water was then placed on our table while we caught up on the gossip and decided on what delicious foods we were going to have.  Jamie's has a Super Lunch menu that is only £10.95 for two courses and if you are still hungry for dessert then you can have three courses for £12.95, which is a pretty impressive price! Jamie Oliver is my favourite celebrity chef and the fact he promotes free range chicken, pork and grass fed beef is a plus in my book as not enough restaurants offer dishes containing these preferring to use cheaper products where there is less emphasis on animal welfare.

As I am gluten free I went for the full menu for my eats, there was certainly a lot of choice in the mains but they were sadly lacking in the starter department.  For our starters Iga went for the Pâté Bruschetta which is a chicken liver pâté with pancetta served on bruschetta toasts, Steff went for the Fritto Misto, a selection of fried sustainable fish and squid with a garlic and lemon aioli, and I went for the Olives on Ice (£3.95) which was olives served on ice with a black olive tapenade and what looked like a poppadom.  The crispy music bread as its called does contain gluten so don't eat it if you are gluten intolerant.  Iga and Steff both really enjoyed their starters and I must admit they did look appetising, my starter was fine but eating olives isn't a particular exciting starter to pick.

Jamie's Italian Super Lunch Review
Jamie's Italian Review
Jamie's Itaan Review

For the main course Iga and Steff were both feeling ultra healthy and went for the Super Food Salad which arrived in a huge bowl packed with quinoa, black rice, curly kale, toasted seeds, cottage cheese, avocado and a lot more, I went for the less healthy option of Jamie's Favourite Porchetta (£13.95) which is a dish of slow cooked pork belly served with charred fennel, spring onion, baby beets and apple sauce. The Super Food Salad looked really good and was given the thumbs up by Iga and Steff, it seemed to be very filling and Iga took what she couldn't finish home with her in a doggy bag.  The pork belly that I chose was really tender and tasty, the charred veg that came along with it was also delicious.  It doesn't come with potatoes or chips so if you wanted some then you would need to order them as a side dish.  We ordered a side of Polenta Chips (£3.65) to share, these were more cubes than chips and were really good, yum!

Jamie's Italian Super Lunch Review
Jamie's Italian Review
Jamie's Italian Review
After both courses I was feeling full but Steff decided to try out the dessert and went for the Frozen  Natural Yoghurt with Butterscotch Sauce (£4.95) this wasn't included in the special lunch menu price and it seems that it's only ice cream which is, if you are after any of the other desserts then you will need to pay extra for them. Steff did say that it tasted really good though. Iga went for a Latte and I chose a pot of green tea, for all of the above plus four Homemade Lemonades (a really nice and refreshing drink) the bill came to just over £68 which is pretty reasonable for three large lunches and drinks.  If your meal has inspired you to cook Italian dishes then there are various cook books, pastas and oils you can buy there if you wish to recreate them at home to impress your friends and family.

Jamie's Italian Review

Overall the service and food was really good, the only thing I would suggest is to offer more starters that are gluten free as the olives were not really what I would class as a starter more of a "nibble"  while you choose what you want from the menu.  The rest of the menu though does get top marks and you can have the pasta dishes with gluten free pasta; there are also vegan and dairy free dishes available too so all dietery requirements are catered for.

Have you been to Jamie's Italian before? What did you have?

Disclaimer - I was invited by Jamie's Italian to try their menu but all opinions are 100% my own.

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