Sunday, 29 January 2017

Gluten Free Prawn Toast & Honey Chilli Chicken

Gluten Free Chinese Food

Chinese food is my most favourite food ever but unfortunately as I'm gluten and dairy free then that means that their menus can be quite challenging when it comes to choosing a dish. There is a Chinese takeaway in Aberdeen that has a few free from items on their menu (it's the Eagle May if you are from around Aberdeen, their food is top notch!) but that involves a 40 mile round trip and a quick blast in the microwave to heat it up, other than that I'm yet to find somewhere else that has gluten free meals. Even Chinese ready meals contain gluten due to the soy sauce so I struggle to pick up something in the supermarkets for a quick dinner.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

My At Home Pamper Routine

Lush Snow Fairy; Body Shop British Rose Products

Who doesn't love a good pamper session? There is nothing like sitting in a warm bath surrounded by bubbles and candles to help you relax and forget about things for a while. I tend to do a pamper evening on a Sunday to set me up for the week ahead and hopefully erase any signs of late nights and partying that I may have done over the weekend. So light up those candles, run your bath and look out all your products you will need for your pampering session.

Yes To Carrots Shampoo & Conditioner; Cruelty Free Beauty

While my bath is running I will wash and condition my hair, I'm currently using Yes To Carrots as I have psoriasis and my scalp is dry and flaky at the moment but I find that my scalp is less itchy with using this shampoo and conditioner. Also it smells much nicer and is better for your hair than that nasty smelling coal tar shampoos that you can buy for itchy scalps. I then wrap my hair in a towel and remove the makeup and dirt of the day from my face using B. Melting Gel Cleanser, this goes on as a gel but as you massage it into your face it melts into an oil and turns into a milky toner as you wash it off. It's a similar product to the Clarins one I used to use but is a much cheaper and cruelty free version. Once my face is make up free I exfoliate using Dr Organics Manuka Honey Scrub and follow that with The Body Shop's British Rose Plumping Mask, which btw smells amazing!

Now that my bath is nearly finished running I will add in either a Lush Bubble Bar or Bath Bomb (Candy Mountain and Northern Lights are my current favourites) to make the bath water look and smell pretty before stepping into it. Once in I just lie back and relax while my face mask gets to work, after 10 minutes I will remove the mask with a clean face cloth. After I've had a good long soak in the bath, I let the water out and start the shower so I can do the next part of my pamper routine. I will exfoliate using the Body Shop's British Rose Body Exfoliater which I got in their Advent Calendar. This like the plumping mask also smells divine, it doesn't smell like some of the in-your-face-smells-like-a-granny fragrance that you quite often find with rose scented products but this has a more softer and delicate perfume to it. After the exfoliater is washed off I will then use a shower gel to wash and also so I can use my razor without cutting myself or making small nicks in my skin as we all know the pain of soapy water running down your leg and stinging where you have lacerated your leg while shaving! When I'm out of the shower I love to put on a really good body lotion, again I'm using a British Rose product from the Body Shop, their body butters are so good and leave your skin lovely and soft. I also apply a night cream to my face, I'm using the Body Shop's Vitamin E cream that I got in my advent calendar and it leaves your skin soft and plump so I will be buying a full sized version as I have nearly finished the tub that I am using.

After my body butter has sunk in I like to put on a pair of cosy PJs and paint my nails, after a disaster of using an orange shade on my nails without using a base coat I now always, always use one. Having nails that looked as though I was a 60 a day Benson & Hedges smoker after removing the nail varnish was not a good look! Took ages to lose the tinge that was left on my nails :(

Do you have pamper sessions at home? What's your favourite products that you use?

post signature

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Vegan Haggis

Gluten Free Dairy Free Haggis

The 25th January is Robert (or Rabbie) Burns' birthday and is celebrated annually by Scots all over the world by having a Burns Supper, this typically involves haggis, copious amounts of whisky and some poetry that the man himself wrote. This can be either an informal get together at home or a formal event where the haggis is piped in to the room by a piper followed by the chef and the person who will address the haggis. Sound a bit weird to you? Drink some more of that whisky and you will be clapping along to the piped music in no time at all!

If you are unaware what haggis is (it's not a strange animal that lives in the Highlands as some people jokingly tell tourists), it's a dish made with minced sheep's lungs, heart and liver along with oatmeal, spices, onion and suet and then stuffed inside a sheep's stomach. Mmmmmm doesn't that sound yummy! No? You might need some more of that whisky that's on the table to make you forget what you are about to eat.

If you are hosting a Burns night at home or just fancy some haggis, neeps and tatties for your dinner there are ones you can buy in the supermarket or butcher. Simon Howie now do a gluten free version of the meat variety and Macsween do a vegetarian haggis (this is also vegan but not gluten free) depending on which one you prefer (Why you would want to eat a meat haggis knowing what's in it is beyond me and I'm a meat eater!!). As I can no longer eat the veggie one due to the gluten in the oats I set about making my own one. This one is packed with veg, seeds, pulses and gluten free oats and tastes so much nicer than the real thing and makes enough for 4 people.

What you will need

75g Gluten Free Oats
1 380g tin of Green Lentils
1 400g Butter Beans
1 Large Onion Chopped
1 Large Carrot Grated
5 Mushrooms Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
3 Tablespoons Mixed Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinammon
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
2 Tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce (Tamari)
Lots of Black Pepper

How to make

Soak the oats in a bowl of water for over an hour and then drain.
Preheat your oven to 190 deg
In a large pan put some oil in, once hot enough sauté the onions. Once the onions are soft throw in the grated carrot and chopped mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Drain the green lentils and add those to the pan along with the Cinammon, Allspice, Tamari, stirring to mix everything well.
Drain the butter beans and mash these up with a fork chuck this into the pan as well as the drained oats, add salt, plenty of black pepper and the minced garlic.
Make sure everything is mixed through properly and then empty the contents of the pan into a loaf tin. Place into a preheated oven and cook for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with neeps and mashed tatties (turnip and potatoes if you are unsure what that is), a dram of whisky or Irn Bru if you are driving.

Have you ever tried haggis?

post signature

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

January Sales Clothing Haul

Every January I tell myself that I do not need any more clothes as my wardrobe is at the point of exploding its contents all over my bedroom and that I should save my money for important things instead but there is a little voice in my head that tells me to have a look online and buy all the pretty things. So I do! I did actually manage to get quite a few bargains so it was totally worth going online and looking, well done voice in head.

River Island now has a Petite range which is fantastic news for little people like myself as it means we can wear their clothes without having to take up a hem or wear a dress that is far too long. I found a lovely dark green top in their range with bell sleeves and a black lace trim reduced from £28 down to £15 as well as a pair of black velour block heel ballerina shoes that were once £30 down to £10. I also found my dress that I've worn once to my work's Christmas night out reduced to £25 that I paid £60 for. Annoying!

What I bought in the sales

New Look's sale gave me a pair of Petite ripped knee turn up jeans for £11 and a cord mini skirt for only £4 which is an amazing price, I also picked up a shell pink raglan top £8 and a pretty Petite embroidered skater dress £34.99 (that was in the wash so had to use a pic from their website instead) although these weren't in the sale if you signed up to their newsletter you were getting 30% off your order so they were a decent price too. Roll on Spring time so I can wear the jeans and top without turning the same colour as the denim.

Monsoon has amazing sales and I say this every year but I should really shop there more, their clothes are really good quality and last a long time. I picked up this cold shoulder shift dress that was £59 down to £17 and these go perfect with the heels that I bought from River Island. I also picked up a red with black lace top (which was also in the wash but they don't have a pic left on their website to show you. Booo) that was only £11 from £39.

I've also ordered a black bomber jacket from New Look that was £16.99 and got an email from myHermes telling me it has just been delivered to my work so at least that's something to get excited to going into work for tomorrow. I now need to do another cull shortly of my wardrobe as it is going to be groaning when all these new items are shoved in.

Did you manage to pick up any bargains in the sales?

post signature

Sunday, 8 January 2017

6 Things To Do In The Winter Evenings

Now that Christmas is over, all the twinkling lights and decorations are down and packed away for the next 11 months, it's cold, dark and gloomy for a good few weeks before Spring arrives so what to do to pass the time until the evenings start getting a bit lighter.  Here's a list of things that will help make those long dark evenings pass that little bit quicker.

Learn a new recipe
There are plenty of recipes out there waiting for you to try; maybe you received a cook book for Christmas, you found a tasty sounding dish online that you wanted to make or you fancied attempting a family recipe, once you have found what you are going to cook grab yourself a glass of wine and get chopping (do this part before you start drinking the wine, no one wants to find bits of fingers and nails in their food).

Try A New Recipe

Cold winter nights are ideal for reading a book, magazines or catching up with your favourite or discovering new blogs. Get yourself a hot chocolate or cup of tea, a blanket and snuggle under to read (bonus points if you can do this in front of a real fire) and you have the perfect cosy night in.

Have a pamper evening
Run yourself a bath, light some candles, slap on a face mask and relax in the (not too hot) bubble bath while you listen to some music to help you unwind after a long day.  Smother your body in body lotion as you don't want your skin to be as flaky as the sausage rolls you consumed over the festive period, put on your comfy PJs and either go to bed and read a book or stay up and watch a feel good movie.

Get Fit
Everyone is motivated at the start of the New Year to get fit whether it's to join a gym, go running, swimming or do Pilates.  It's quite daunting walking into these places yourself so see if a friend will come with you or if the thought totally terrifies you there are plenty of DVDs or YouTube channels where you can copy their moves in the comfort of your own home.

Organise your wardrobe
You have possibly bought some new clothes and accessories in the post Christmas sales and are now having to ram them into your already bulging wardrobe and hope that everything doesn't tumble out and hit you in the head whenever you go in to get something to wear (this is me every day!).  I did do a wardrobe organisation post a while back and as much as I would like to say that I maintained it I would be a liar, liar, pants on fire.  This is now on my to-do list.

Update your blog
Now obviously this is only going to apply to those who already have a blog but if you don't have one then why not start up your own one, there are plenty of articles out there on t'internet to help you start off.  Are there any posts that need updating, maybe you have written up some posts that you could link into your older ones and hopefully will get your readers to click on them as well as increase your DA.  Got dodgy, grainy pics that look like a 5 year old took them (putting my hand up here) when you first started blogging, take some new photos and replace the older pics with these much prettier ones instead.  Check for broken or dead links in your blog and remove them as it can affect SEO and page ranking, if you are on Wordpress there is a plug-in that can do it for you or if you are on Blogger then a quick Google throws up many Broken Link Checkers for you to click on.

Hopefully this list might give you some ideas for these dark evenings, how do you like to spend your dark, gloomy winter nights?

post signature

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New Year Goals

Personal Planner; Dot Creates Blog Planner; New Year Goals blog post

Happy 2017! That is going to take some getting used isn't it? Normally it takes me until March before I start getting the year right when writing as I keep putting the previous year down instead and I'm sure I'm not the only one that does this :)!  I always find the start of a new year an ideal time for making changes in your life, working on goals for the year ahead and focusing on things that really matter.  I feel that if I give myself hard resolutions such as "must lose weight", "must blog more", etc then that is a sure fire way for me to fail so instead I've made them into goals where they can easily be achieved by varying degrees of success.

Personal Goals

Diet - The effects of having 5 IVFs with pumping your body with different hormones, being on steroids to suppress my immune system, etc has meant that I have gained a stone and a half in the three years from when I had my first cycle.  I really want to shift this weight especially before my next cycle (and put on even more) I don't want to start a crazy new year diet that will last a few weeks before I give up so I am making healthy lifestyle choices such as eat more fruit and veg, eat only when I am hungry and drink more water which will become a habit rather than a diet.

Exercise - My exercise regime is non-existent, I drive to work sit at my desk and drive home again to sit on the sofa watching tv or blogging.  I'm never going to be a gym bunny as that doesn't interest me but I am quite keen to start Jazzercise as dancing doesn't feel such a chore like lifting weights or running on a treadmill.  I've had a look and there is a few classes in my town so will start going next week.

Make more time for me - I used to have a pamper session a couple of times a week where I would give myself a facial, have a relaxing bath and use the hundreds of lotions and potions that I am a sucker for but that has slipped over the past few months.  I really need to get back into this again as its a lovely way to relax after a long day at work as well as set you up for the week ahead if you do it on a Sunday.

Declutter - I really need to get on top of this as There. Is. No. Space. left in my house, I really need to be ruthless as I have lots of things that are just lingering in cupboards and drawers barely used if at all.  My vintage things are staying as some of them hold sentimental value but for everything else I need to donate, sell or bin depending on what the items are to free up some space.

Blogging Goals

Improve my photography - I look back at my photos when I first started blogging and lol as I used to take them on my iPad and knew nothing about editing, photo props and angles but I'm really starting to get into it now especially after buying a new camera in the Summer.  I got a 45mm lens for Christmas so I am going to experiment more with the photos I take.

Instagram & Facebook - Following on from my photography goals I really need to post on both my Instagram and Facebook a lot more.  I gave up on FB as the posts were only being seen by a few people so seemed pointless when I could use the time on other social media to promote posts, etc so have decided to take another shot at it.

Blog twice a week - As I work full time (including 12hr shifts) I need to be realistic about how many posts I can write up, take photos for, promote and reply to comments and I feel that two should be manageable.  I did do Blogmas but never managed to complete it due to being ill and although I had already scheduled a few posts in advance it was a struggle to promote the posts, reply to comments and write up/photograph content, etc so I'm not going to do that again as everything was so rushed.  I bought myself a blog planner from Dot Creates to help me be more organised in my approach to blogging.

I am sure that there are other goals that I could think of but they can be saved until next year. What are your goals for this year?

post signature

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Blog Post

Happy New Year to all you lovely people! I hope that 2017 is an amazing year for you and brings you lots of love and happiness, as well as good health.  Speaking of which you may have noticed that I never managed to complete Blogmas as I came down with a nasty chest infection and a couple of days after I finished my antibiotics I came down with a cold, shout out to my work colleagues for spreading their germs at Christmas! So Christmas wasn't quite as fun as I had hoped it to be.

I will be back to blogging as normal later in the week but meanwhile enjoy the last few days of the festivities before the reality of it all being over has set in.  

post signature
© The Life of Dee | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig