Sunday, 29 September 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Pepper & Chilli Soup Recipe

It's a Sunday afternoon at the end of September. The sun is still shining but there's a crispness in the air. There is only one lunchtime recipe which will suit a day like today, and that's my favourite soup! This seasonal recipe is a hell of a lot more satisfying than canned soup and it's very easy to make. It's packed with healthy squash, and has a hint of metabolism boosting chilli. Basically, it's good for you and tastes amazing!

You will need:
1 butternut squash, medium sized
1 red pepper
1 fresh chilli
1 ltr of stock (I used chicken)
First of all, you need to roast the squash. Cut it into halves or quarters and scoop out the seeds. Place in a roasting tray, season with salt and pepper and spray with Fry Light (or drizzle with olive oil if you're being naughty!) Roast at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the flesh starts to become tender. Allow it to cool in the tray for 10 minutes, and then scoop out the flesh.

Chop the red pepper into large chunks, deseed the chilli and cut in to small pieces and add both to a pan over a low heat. Cover the pan and allow the pepper and chilli to sweat for 5 minutes. Use this time to mix up the stock.

When the peppers are softened, stir in the butternut squash flesh and heat through for a few minutes. Then pour over the stock and allow everything to simmer on a low heat with a lid on for 10 minutes.

Next up, you need to smooth the soup. I use a hand blender, but you could of course blitz it in a food processor - just be careful transferring the hot liquid.
When all the lumps are gone, ladel into bowls and grind some black pepper over the top. Best served piping hot with a big hunk of tiger bread (I wish!) For me, this soups is just the right amount of heat, but if it's too spicy for you, stir through some natural yoghurt or cream to neutralise.

I'm really looking forward to taking some to work for lunch tomorrow :) What's your favourite autumnal soup?

Rosie x

PS. I'm nearly at 100 Bloglovin' followers! I will be doing my first ever giveaway when I hit 100 :)

PPS. This post is an entry in the 1st edition Tiendo cooking competition 'Seasonal Recipes' -

Friday, 27 September 2013

Golden Hour

Ah, the infamous golden hour. I was flicking through my Flickr (heh!) account recently, and thought I'd share some of my Autumnal shots. A few years ago, I used to absolutely love the Flickr network. But a falling out with photography (because being paid to do something seems to take the fun out of it) stalled my involvement, and I've never really gotten back in to it. In fact, I've never really looked at photography in the same way since I've been doing it part time.

I love the hints of orange in these photos. South West Autumns get pretty cold, but I think there's so much warmth in these shots.

You can see my Flickr profile here, if you're interested!

Rosie x

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Mini Crustless Quiches - a Slimming World recipe

I'm now 14 weeks in to my Slimming World journey and half a stone lighter. My progress isn't happening quite as fast as I'd like it to though, so I'm trying to step it up for a few weeks to see if it'll make a difference. Lunch is the hardest meal of the day to enjoy, as there's only so many weeks you can sit in front of a box of lettuce and not want to give up. One of the recipes which have brightened up my lunch are these mini crustless quiches - Syn free on the Extra Easy plan for my fellow SW readers! They're also suitable for gluten free diets and are generally just good, low fat food.
To make 12 mini crustless quiches, you will need:
6 eggs
100g Quark or fat free cottage cheese
Fry Light (or other low calorie cooking spray)
Any vegetables or meat you'd like as your fillings

First of all, preheat your oven to 180 degrees and spray a muffin tray with Fry Light, ensuring to get the sides too. This helps the edges cook and stops them from sticking to the tray.

Cut up the veg/meat you'd like to use for your quiches, but make sure the pieces are small so they cook through. I used red onion and red pepper in half, and leek and ham in the other.

Sprinkle your veg in the bottom of the 12 trays.

Beat together all the eggs, and then beat in the Quark. This takes a little while and will be a bit lumpy, but don't fret.

Pour your mixture into the trays, just enough to cover the veg. Mine are usually about half full.

Cook for 20 minutes or so, until the egg starts to brown off.

You could either serve these hot from the oven with a jacket potato and beans, or allow them to cool at room temperature before keeping them in the fridge, ready to pack into a lunchbox with with salad and cous cous the next day.

What do you think of these crustless quiches? How do you jazz up your lunch box?
Rosie x

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Body Shop Brow & Liner Kit

I picked up this Brow and Liner kit from The Body Shop's website a few weeks ago when they had a 30% discount code, so I got it for £7. (There's currently 40% off with code 14395!) I chose shade 01 - Blonde & Auburn.
I really struggle with keeping my eyebrows maintained. My natural hair colour is strawberry blonde - a light gingery colour with lots of natural blonde highlights, which I haven't seen since I started secondary school, apart from one night with two boxes of ColourB4! Obviously, my eyebrows and eyelashes are the same light blonde colour, so I have them tinted every 6 to 8 weeks to make them slightly darker. Most days, I don't worry so much about my brows as my fringe is usually in the way, but sometimes I wear my fringe to the side or back, and I feel like I need a little something else. 
As you can see, just a few sweeps of colour really does make a difference. The dense, flat brush is brilliant at gently packing in the powder, without making it look too dark and fake - I'm all about natural brows. I haven't used the thinner 'liner' brush yet, as I'm a bit worried about giving myself drag queen brows...
I'm well aware that there's some cult blogger brow products, as well as lots of girls just using a brown eyeshadow powder to fill their brows, but I really rate this Body Shop product.
What do you do to maintain your brows? Have you tried this Body Shop kit?
Rosie x

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Summer Loving

Back in August, I had the pleasure of photographing Steve and Faye's beautiful wedding at Folly Farm. The whole day was incredibly gorgeous - tea cups and saucers scattered around, teapots filled with flowers, an ice cream cart, a gorgeous forest and some old fashioned English rain. After the ceremony and a glass of bubbles, I stole away the Newlyweds to get some portraits, but we were rudely interrupted by a huge rain cloud sitting over Chew Valley. We just about made it inside before the heavens really opened - but it was just part of the day.

You can like my photography page on Facebook here.
Rosie x

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Flip Side : The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

 Artist: The Beatles
Album Title: Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Release Year: 1967
Label: Parlophone
Bought From: Stables Market, Camden, London. 
Price: £45
Special Features: Original mono recording. Intact inlay cut outs.
Favourite Song: With A Little Help From My Friends
This is possibly the most expensive and rare record in our collection. Ash spotted this displayed on the wall in one of the stalls inside the Stables Markets, Camden. He checked it over, and then gave it back, not wanting to spend £50 on a record. But after a lunch of incredible Chinese market food (craving!), he negotiated slightly and took this home for 45 Great British Pounds.
The sleeve isn't in great condition, and one of the reasons that £50 seemed a bit steep. But this is an original 1976 Beatles record. We were on a rare trip to London, the same trip where we picked up this Smiths record. We'd already visited the Beatles Shop on Baker Street and we had our own whiff of Beatlemania. I think this is one of the few records which we're really proud to have in our collection.
My two favourite Beatles songs are on this album - With A Little Help From My Friends and When I'm Sixty-Four. Both of these songs were a huge part of my childhood. Not because my Grandparents used to play them like most people my age, but because we sang them in assembly at school. We also sang a lot of Bob Marley! The whole school would sit on the floor of the hall with crossed legs, waiting for our music teacher to go to the piano, whilst the Deputy Head put some handwritten lyrics on the OHP, projected on to the walls of the hall. Oh, Primary school, you were wonderful.

The best feature about this record, is that the cut outs are still completely intact! You can imagine the person who bought this new - not wanting to take a pair of scissors to their brand new record, hoping to keep it pristine for a little while longer. Well, 47 years later, they are still where they were on the day they were printed. I think that's pretty cool.
What's your favourite Beatles song?
Rosie x

Monday, 16 September 2013

Polkadot Mint Nails & A Catch Up

What. A Week. All last week I had a nasty cold which turned in to sickness, right in the middle of planning a work Summer party for over 500 people. It was awful. Each evening I was SO tired that I was in bed just after dinner - if I could stomach it - so I did no blog writing or reading at all. Bloglovin is currently telling me I have almost 300 posts to catch up on! Ouch. But the party was an absolute success, despite the rain, and I can go back to normal schedules at work again, and get back in to a little bloggy routine.

Last night, I told Ash to pick a nail colour off the shelf. I'd looked at them for a few minutes and couldn't decide what I wanted to go for... so I let him make that decision. He picked off Avon Nailwear Pro+ in Serene, and then swiftly headed downstairs to avoid the stench of nail polish ;) After 2 coats, I used the Models Own WAH Nails Nail Art Pen in white to polkadot my ring fingers. Accent nails are still cool, right? This Avon colour has great staying power, and doesn't chip quickly. It's really impressed me each time I've used it, but I'm sad it probably won't make a transition into Autumn!

This month I made the decision to see how advertising on other blogs could help me out. It seems to be working well at the moment, and I'm intrigued to see how it may progress. Do you advertise your blog anywhere?

And on another note - I'm really struggling with my eczema at the moment. My hands keep cracking and my legs are so dry. This happens every time there is a crazy season change, so my Simple Derma hand cream is never too far away. Do you suffer with eczema and have any recommendations? I pretty much just use E45 with my steroid cream when it's bad.

How was your week?

Rosie x

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Watermelon Fizz with Ciroc Vodka

When Alexander & James, a new online store dedicated to fine spirits, sent me a beautiful bottle of Ciroc Vodka, I knew I had to create a new vodka based cocktail. As Summer closes in on us, the watermelons will soon be gone from the supermarket shelves. I've always wanted to try blending my own watermelon base and I finally have.

To make a Watermelon Fizz, you will need:
50ml Ciroc vodka
50ml pomegranate liquor
100ml pureed watermelon flesh
Lemonade to top

For the watermelon base, chop the flesh in to small pieces and blend to a pulp using a hand mixer. Then strain all the bits out using whichever means are best for you - I used a tea strainer. It can take a while but it's worth it to have a smooth, clear base.

Add all ingredients, except the lemonade, in to a shaker with ice, and shake until the ice has melted. Strain in to a cocktail glass and top with lemonade for extra fizz. Refreshing and lovely!

The pomegranate liquor is not essential, it just gives the flavour an extra edge. Feel free to leave it out!

Ciroc vodka may have overtaken Absolut as my favourite vodka ever. It's made with grapes (most vodka is potato/grain based) and is distilled 5 times to perfect it's taste. I learnt quite a lot about the distilling process at The Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, so I now know how important this process is.

What do you think of this watermelon concoction? Have you ever tried Ciroc vodka?
Rosie x

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Every Word Handwritten - the short film

If you've been here from the beginning, you may remember that I named this blog after Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem. The video for Handwritten gave me shivers when it was released last Summer, and now they have shared this short film (15 minutes), an extension of the music video.

It tells the story of one vinyl record through the decades. From it's production, to it's rebirth. Although I do enjoy buying 'new' records, I also love looking through our well loved vinyls, especially if there's notes left on them. It reminds me that someone else has loved the songs hidden in the grooves.

Ash and I washed this in complete silence, cosied up on bed after a long day of work. It was perfect.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Topshop Lipstick in Innocent review

I'm not usually one to wear lipstick, hence why I bought the Maybelline Babylips last month to give them a try. I've found myself really enjoying having a bit of extra colour on my face, and on a rare visit to Topshop I thought I'd have a look at the lipsticks I'd heard so much about. Most of the shades looked absolutely terrifying but I loved the subtle pinks.

After a few hand swatches, I thought I'd bring Innocent home with me for a trial. The colour is a gorgeous dusky pink, which comes out brighter on the skin. The formula is pretty light, despite the website describing it as velvety. I love the shade on me, and have vowed to wear it all this week to see if I can 'get used' to wearing lip colour.

What do you think of Topshop's make up range? Do you have any recommendations? Rosie x
PS. Please excuse the tired eyes. We had a very busy weekend. #22goingon65

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Changing Seasons

His and hers.

1st September. 2013 is whizzing by before my eyes. It doesn't seem like too long ago that we were clinking champagne flutes on New Years Eve and wishing for a great year. Although it's been fun so far, I don't think it'll top 2012 - but hey, there's still time. It won't be long before Starbucks are serving PSL's and the house smells like cinnamon.
As I said in my last post, I don't have any time scheduled off work until Christmas day, so we really need to think about planning something soon. I just fancy a long weekend somewhere quiet and disconnected - any ideas?