Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Delicious Non-Recipe That You Have To Try

The Delicious Non-Recipe That You Have To Try
On Thursday night, my partner and I planned on making Joe Wicks' much loved Cheesy Chicken and Chorizo after I came home from the gym. Everything was going to plan, the chicken was cut, mozzarella sliced but it turns out we actually forgot one crucial ingredient - the chorizo. Since we were ravenous and Dominos wasn't quite in our budget, we foraged around the kitchen and came up with the most delicious dish that I think I might actually prefer over chicken and chorizo - Sorry Joe Wicks. 

I asked on Instagram stories if you guys wanted to see the recipe and I'm so glad you did! I've noted the ingredients we used below but since this was a complete non-recipe, you could use whatever quantities you wish. This particular non-recipe serves two.

Ingredients 

295g chicken
100g prawns
1/2 diced onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp tomato puree 
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp water
1 tsp chopped red chilies / 1 red chili
3 - 4 handfuls of spinach
1 ball light mozzarella 
250g spicy rice

Method

Heat coconut oil/fry light/whatever oil you like over a medium to high heat. Add in onions and garlic until they start to brown and then add the chicken. 

Turn the heat up to high and fry your chicken until it's cooked all the way through. 

Add the tomato puree and the smoked paprika then, depending how much liquid is in your pan, add some water. Adding the water helps to mix the tomato puree and paprika and make it more sauce like. 

Add your prawns, mixing them in to the sauce as they're cooking. 

Add your chili in whatever form you've chosen and more water if necessary as it will reduce over time. 

When your prawns are almost done, add your spinach and stir in until it's fully wilted. We use more than necessary so we don't throw any away.

When your spinach has wilted, take your pan off the heat, make little gaps in your mixture and add in the mozzarella. 

Now all that's left to do is pop your rice in the microwave (or boil it if that's your thing) and plate up - We wait until the mozzarella is only melted slightly because it's too stringy otherwise. 
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If you've ever made Cheesy Chicken and Chorizo, you basically follow the same method! I hope you enjoyed this non-recipe and I'd love to hear what you think!

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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Latest Hair Care Purchases + Why I'll Be Recommending Them

Latest Hair Care Purchases + Why I'll Be Recommending Them - L'Oreal Elvive and Co Lab
I'll start by letting you in on a little secret, I'm really lazy when it comes to my hair. I know what kinds of products work so I don't switch them up very often, I like to wash it just once a week and for the most part, I tie it up because I can't stand it being all over the place. Truthfully, I think this mostly stems from the type of hair I have - It's quite fine, poker straight and doesn't tend to have a lot of volume - This combination for me, is just the ultimate cba hair and even trying to form a messy bun is more effort than it's worth. 

Cutting to the chase, a few weeks ago I went in search of new products that I could throw into my  routine and change up my hair game. I watched so many 'Best of 2017' videos and after what felt like my hundredth one, I was pretty set on what I was going to buy. 

First on the to-purchase list was a L'Oreal shampoo and conditioner. Now, I was a huge fan of the Elvive Colour Protect when I was younger but as I stopped having my hair coloured so much, I eventually phased it out. This time around, I knew I wanted something that was going to thicken up my hair and give it that texture I'd swooned over for so long. The Elvive Fibrology Air did just that. I picked up the Air version mostly because it said 'Anti-flat for 48 hours' on the bottle and because I figured it would be a little lighter on my fine hair. 

Just over a week and a few washes later, I can't believe how well I'm getting on with this duo. My hair has felt thick and voluminous yet not weighted at all which is what I found with these types of shampoos and conditioners in the past. My hair can go for longer before it needs to be dry-shampooed yet it feels like it's nourished throughout. Fibrology Air is a winner in my eyes. 

Whilst I was in the hair care section, dreaming of how luscious my hair was soon to be, I got thinking about dry shampoo. I've used it for so many years but it really doesn't give me any excitement. Honestly, my current brand leaves my hair a pasty shade of white and tends to stop working half way through the can which of course, isn't ideal. Just as I went to pick up yet another one, COLAB caught my eye. 

Sure, I know there's a lot of love for it in the Blogosphere since it's a creation by the ever-wonderful Ruth Crilly but I can assure you, it's not just that. Not only does it smell delightful, it doesn't leave any white residue on my hair and doesn't leave my hair feeling powdery which is so amazing to me. After using dry shampoo for an insane number of years, I can't believe I've only just discovered such a hero product.  

Using these three products over the past week or so has given my hair a new lease of life and I would recommend them to absolutely anyone. Next on the agenda is to give it a good chop because I might finally be able to rock that short and bouncy style that's been impossible for so long.
I'd love to know what your go-to hair products are and if there's anything else you can recommend!

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Last Week I Went To The Gym + Here's What It Taught Me

Last Week I Went To The Gym + Here's What It Taught Me
Going to the gym isn't really a Hollie thing to do. It's not that I don't like it, it's that I can't be bothered to make time to go and I can't be bothered to spend the time there - For the sake of this post, we'll call it 'lacking motivation'. I've not actually been a member of a gym for as long as I can remember and I use my work out clothes to go to Morrisons and pretend that I'd know what I was doing if I was suddenly faced with a cross-trainer. Even the thought of going to the gym makes me unmotivated and after hearing colleagues complain about it for 8.5 hours a day, slowly but surely I ruled it out completely.

The fitness movement boomed over the past few years and it comes as no surprise that more people are working out than ever before. Being fit has become something people want to do, 'a lifestyle' if you're really being a twat but despite all this, it still wasn't on the cards for me. That was until last week. 

I was in work on Tuesday after being off sick the week prior and as usual, around 4pm, my pal Bethan and I had gone on our break. We'd been emailing back and fourth all afternoon about the the gym she'd recently moved to and for the first time in a long time, it actually excited me. I spent my down time questioning Bethan and comparing her experiences and before I'd even returned to my desk, I was sold. By 4.15pm I'd signed up for my trial at Pure Gym. 

Truthfully, it wasn't just Bethan's ability to convince me that made me sign up, it was the simplicity of it all. It took me not even 5 minutes to sign up for my free 3 day pass that I could start using immediately. I didn't have to enter any payment details and I wasn't hassled by phone or email asking me to join even though I did when it ended. I didn't have to book in for a waste of time induction and as the gym is open 24/7, if you're like me and going straight from work isn't your thing, you literally have the flexibility to go whenever you like - Something I'd never had before.

I planned on going the next morning before work but, just as I thought, I didn't want to leap out of bed at 6am so I went that evening instead. The next two days however, I was up and in the gym for 6am. I got home around 7.15, showered and headed to work for 9.30 and truthfully, I couldn't believe how good I felt. 

With having three different shift patterns in work, I don't always wake up at the same time but setting myself a goal to wake up and head to the gym for 6am everyday means I'll finally be in a routine - I'm more of a morning gal anyway so getting up isn't an issue. Also, getting to work and knowing I've already done my workout for the day doesn't only motivate me to eat better, it makes me happy because I know I can go home and relax of an evening. 

Above all, I guess the biggest motivator of all is the fitness aspect. I've managed to work out for longer each day and I know my body is feeling better for it. I'm making better choices about what to eat and despite the one gin and one margarita, sticking to Dry January surprisingly hasn't been as hard as I thought. 

So to conclude my first week back at a gym, it's been an absolute success. I've learnt that when I have flexibility, I can be surprisingly motivated. I've learnt that when something is very user friendly, I'm more open to giving it a go and finally, I've learnt to actually like spending time at the gym and can already see the benefits to it. 

What a success, I can't believe how well it's going so far. I'd love to know if you go to a gym and what keeps you motivated and on track?


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Friday, 5 January 2018

2018 Fuck Budget + A 2017 Recap

The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck - 2018 Fuck Budget + A 2017 Recap
Who remembers 'The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck'? I'm sure you do but even if you've not read it, I'm sure you understand the concept. Basically giving less fucks about things you don't care about and more fucks about things you do. The book is a couple of years old now but since I got thinking about my 2018 fucks whilst in the shower yesterday, I thought I'd not only recap on last years with you, but share the fucks I plan to give this year. 

A recap of 2017

First off in 2017 and probably the biggest 'give less fucks about..' from last years post, I decided that I actually did give a fuck about driving. It was mostly because the tests were changing at the end of the year but also because I figured that if I kept spending my savings elsewhere, then I would never actually have the money to learn. 

Moving on to blogging, I made an effort to give more fucks about engagement online though not as much as I would have liked. I started commenting on Instagram photos, replying to other peoples tweets and commenting on blog posts a lot more than before. I also made a conscious effort to 'up my blog game' even though I hadn't actually given it a thought at first. I learnt more about photography and tried my hand at capturing photos I was proud of along with writing content that I wanted to read. Win.

With regards to work, I managed to take the next step and was offered a job as Team Leader and honestly, I'm so much happier where I am now. 

On the topic of friends', I definitely managed to steer away from the social-breadcrumming I was doing far too much of - I stopped sending those 'We should hang out' texts to friends that weren't bothered about me and felt so much better for it. I also managed to cram in a bunch of quality time with the friends I love dearly and didn't even give a thought to the people who didn't like me. Woo. 

The family side of things was a real strange one last year. A lot of things happened that brought us closer together which, despite the circumstances, I will be eternally grateful for. We have a new found love for wanting to spend time together and have started making the effort to see each other more, something I know we'll look back on in years to come. 

2018 in a nutshell

I know I say this somewhere every year but this year I want to think about more achievable health goals. I'm going to care less about sticking to Weight Watchers and have finally realised that I'm never going to hit the gym three times a week. I'm going to set little goals throughout the year and see how I go. For example we're trying out dry January with the hopes of cutting down on alcohol when were done. We're going to try and eat less meats purely because we feel a lot better when we eat veterinarian and pescatarian meals. Also eventually I think we'll try to cut down on dairy products (except for the odd bit of cheese) because, like meat, we just feel better for it. 

I'm going to care less about what people think of my decisions. I know that it seems pretty obvious but lately I've realised that there are certain people in my life that just don't know when to keep their opinions to themselves. This goes for everything from what I choose to spend my money on, places I choose to travel to and how I choose to spend my time. Why should it matter to anyone else and anyone who tries to cover up their sour opinions with 'Oh I'm just looking out for you' is lying. 

I'm going to continue spending more quality time with my family and I'm determined (after years of saying I would) to visit my cousin in St Andrews this year before she finishes university. It only occurred to me when she was down here over New Year just how much it actually means to her and so for that reason, I want to go. Plus, I'm super duper proud of her!

This year, I'm in two minds about money. Part of me wants to save as much as I possibly can and part of me just wants a year out. I booked for us to go back to Las Vegas in July so I'm obviously going to have to save for that but I'm not sure if I want to put even more money aside each month. We have everything we need so I'm trying to decide if it's worth it. I love the idea of saving for a rainy day and having a comfort blanket but both of those things don't require me to save more than what I already do. Adult life ey. 

With regards to blogging, I don't really want to make any goals. I've tried that before and when I don't achieve them it just gets me down so I figure going with the flow is the best way to handle it. I'm trying to find a way to plan content that works for me but then I'm thinking, should I really plan at all? Joe put out a great tweet the other day asking bloggers how they choose to plan and some of the replies made me feel nauseous (and not just because I was actually sick lol). I think everyone just needs to do their own thing and find a way that works for them because as soon as we stop comparing ourselves or forcing ourselves to do what we believe we 'should' be doing, we'll all be a lot happier. 

That's it folks, my 2018 Fuck Budget. It's in a bit of a different format to last year but I think I like this chatty way a lot more than a list. I'd love to read your Fuck Budget or just the things you plan on caring more or less about this year!

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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Round Up Of 2017's Festivities + Why They Were Brilliant

A Round Up Of 2017's Festivities + Why They Were Brilliant
Where do I begin with this post? It's just gone 8pm, I have an old season of Inside No. 9 on catch up and a fresh brew in hand. I've not long dropped my cousin, Jasmine, off at the train station and almost all of our Christmas decorations are back upstairs in a very disorganised fashion. 

I finished work on December 22nd and haven't thought about it since but it's just dawned on me that in 12 hours time, I'll be rubbing my tired eyes whilst no doubt dripping toothpaste down my chin like I do every day. This year however, something about heading back to the office feels a little different. I'm actually quite content with going back to work because, in all honesty, the last 10 days have been bloody brilliant.

For starters, my other half and I cooked our first Christmas dinner. There were six of us in total and everything reached the table hot, not burnt and only 20 minutes behind schedule - To me, that's a success. We managed to host the whole Christmas morning and serve dinner for just after 2pm without so much as a word muttered under our breaths or any swearing whatsoever (and not just because my Nan was around). The day was great but it soon came to an end and after lots of games and many glasses of prosecco. In true rock and roll style,  we called it a night at 10pm ready for a Boxing Day full of family fun. 

Since this year was my family's first without my Grandad, it was a little bit strange arriving at my Aunties house on Boxing Day instead of his. We in no way tried to recreate what we had with my Grandad but instead, started new traditions for the youngest children and took some great family photos to remember the day by - Instead of filling the house with sad thoughts, we filled it with laughter and love. 

That evening, we hosted my Uncle along with his wife and my little cousin whilst we dashed across town to my in-laws for another night of games and too much prosecco. We played some all too inappropriate rounds of Cards Against Humanity followed by Tipple Tower and after blasting the best of the trance anthems and taking far too many Polaroids, we stumbled up our driveway around 3am. Mini Cheddars in bed were the perfect end to a great family day. 

After a day of rest, the Thursday after Christmas saw us getting the train down to Shrewsbury for an afternoon of food and drinks with our friend Chris and his brother whilst they were home for Christmas. We had such a lovely time catching up and eating the most delicious food at The Alb but it was soon time to head back to Wrexham because my family from Scotland had arrived. A few hours (and a few vodkas) later we headed home to play prosecco pong with Jasmine in tow, ready for the build up to New Year. 

Over the next few days we spent time with Jasmine's Nan along with her parents and nieces before they travelled back up North. Whilst my other half was at the football on Saturday, we had a girly afternoon picking a Pandora ring for her 21st, eating mouth-watering food at Just Steak in Mold and watching Prison Break with (yes you guessed it) prosecco. 

Fast forward to New Years Eve and after cooking breakfast in true girl style, we went out to buy even more prosecco and spent the afternoon getting ready. Our friend Andy came over for a beer and before we knew it, it was time to head out and start the countdown to New Year. We had such a laugh and drank so many cocktails, bumped in to old friends and danced like idiots with others. We celebrated at midnight with the most random bunch but it we had such a great time that we just didn't care. After dancing the night away, we headed home with a kebab and (as per) I fell asleep on the sofa where I coincidentally spent all of yesterday whilst we watched movies like Cars 3, The Best Of Me and, just to man it up, San Andreas. 

Since Jasmine was heading back up North today, we spent a fairly low-key afternoon in Chester eating some lovely food at The Botanist before dropping her off at the train station and saying our goodbyes. It's always so hard saying bye because she's the closest thing I have to a sister but it'll no doubt only be a few short months before we head up to see her in uni before she graduates, the smart lil' cookie. 
Well gang, I'm sorry to ramble but I just had such a lovely time over Christmas and New Year that I really wanted to share it. I'd love to know what you got up to over the holidays! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and here's to 2018!

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