Sunday, 30 June 2013

Day Trip: Chester Zoo




So for my birthday, it was decided that I would be taking a trip to Chester Zoo along with my boyfriend, as I fancied doing something a bit different than just a night out with friends, and waking up to a hangover the next morning! I thought I would write this post to share my photographs and experiences from this day, as it was a fantastic day out and I would definitely recommend going for something a bit different. We planned this trip by visiting our local train station in York, after finding out that you could get a cheap bulk deal that including train tickets, bus transfer (from Chester station to the zoo) and the entry tickets, and we ended up only paying £35 each for all of this which was a real budget.

Just to give you a bit of information about the zoo, Chester zoo has over 7000 animals and over 400 species, making it the largest zoo in the UK at over 110 acres. It also features some of the most exotic and endangered species, and has great transportation around the zoo that includes the Zoofari monorail and water bus (although this did cost an extra £2 per person). Although I don't like the idea of animals being kept in zoos, it was worth the trip and definitely inspires me to go on a Kenyan Sarfari to see the animals where they belong.

One of my favourite parts was the bat experience. I had never actually seen a bat up close before, and this involved going in a dark room (with a tunnel) that was just full of bats - I have to admit that I did get the the entrance and refused to go in at first, but then I just pulled up my hood and went in. They fly past you so fast, particularly as they go through the tunnel, and the lady that was working in there informed me that they have never flown into someone (which is what I was afraid of), due to their magnificent talent sonar. Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures of this though.

Another one of my favourites were the meerkats - everyone loves meerkats after the popular TV advert for 'Compare the Market', making them a popular attraction. I could of spent ages watching them, and there were even some tiny, very young baby meerkats which were incredibly cute!

I hope you like my images of the different animals that I photographed. These include elephants, zebras, meerkats, penguins, a red fox, some aquarium snaps, butterflies and a miniature monkey - enjoy!
















Recipe: lamb and feta cheese burgers


These burgers are so tasty that I decided to share the recipe on my blog. Unfortunately I don't have any photographs that do the burger justice - as you can see the picture is slightly blurred, but it really is very tasty, and really simple to make, with only a few ingredients needed.

The recipe given serves four people, and I served the burgers in a bun with mint sauce, along with spicy wedges, stuffed mushrooms and a salad. You can see the recipe for the stuffed mushrooms that I made on my blog.


Ingredients:

- 125g feta cheese, chopped into small cubes
- 500g lean minced lamb
- dried mint
- mixed herbs

Recipe:

1. Mix the mince meat with the feta cheese cubes, and add the dried mint and mixed herbs. Stir well so that the ingredients is evenly mixed together.

2. Shape evenly into four burgers.

3. Add some oil to a frying pan, and fry the burgers on each side for 5-10 minutes, until cooked through.


As you can see, the recipe is extremely easy and definitely worth the little effort!


Thursday, 27 June 2013

My top five box sets at the moment.

As I constantly spend my time watching box sets, I have decided to give a list of my top five, even though I own (and repeatedly watch) a lot more than this.

So, here it goes...



5. Only Fools and Horses


One of my favourite shows has to be Only Fools and Horses, as I was brought up watching this and so I have been around it since I was little. My boyfriend and I invested in the box set (please excuse my blurry instagram picture above!), and we haven't regretted it. Although it was quite expensive at the time, it is definitely worth it - so many hours of watching, and even though this is the case, I still end up watching the same episodes over and over again!

Favourites include the one where Rodney is forced pretend to be fifteen on a holiday to Spain, and becomes a member of the 'groovy gang', the one where Del decides to sell bottled tap water and, of course, one of the most well-known episodes where they become millionaires.

Del and Rodneys fun and down-to-earth characters makes this show impossible to not love!



4. Friends

Although this isn't something that I watch so much any more, every time that I do I just love it. It makes me feel in my teens again, and if I'm having a bad day then this will be the one to watch. It's just something that I find really comforting - if I'm ever on my own, I'll get into bed with some snacks and put this on. Every series is good, which is unusual for a a box set with so many series, and that's because of the characters. Even though there isn't much storyline to some of the episodes, because the characters themselves are so interesting, it means that there isn't too much need for a really exciting storyline; this is one of the best parts about the show itself.

I must have seen each episode about five to ten times, but I could still watch them all over and over again. My favourite characters are Ross and Chandler, and both because they are just funny without meaning to be.



3. Sex and the City

I like this in a similar way to how I like friends; because of the characters, and also because of the comforting factor. This will also be the one that I'll watch if I'm having a bad day in order to instantly cheer me up. All of the characters have something really special about them, although Carrie is definitely my favourite one - I just think she's really mesmerising. She gets a lot of bad press, but I think she's so interesting to watch and I love her fashion too - she definitely makes the show what it is.



2. Desperate Housewives

Desperate Housewives has been the type of show that I would routinely watch every week, no matter what! With one of the cleverest storylines, it manages to make you laugh, jump and cry; all in one episode. Not many shows can do this.

The only this about this show that I didn't enjoy was the ending - I don't want to go into too much detail for anyone who hasn't seen it, but I'm sure if you have then you will know exactly what I mean by this.



1. Dexter

Well, I watched the seventh season in a single weekend, what more is there to say?! Dexter is certainly one of my favourites at the moment. When I first started watching it from season one, I wasn't entirely sure how much I would like it. However, as it went on, it just got better and better. Now I can't stop thinking about the final season (season eight) that is out soon (June 30th). They storyline is just so exciting, especially towards the end. If you haven't seen it, then I would definitely recommend it!


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Crocheting Update

This post is just a quick update really as to what I have been up to in terms of crafts. I have been pretty slow really, as things have been busy recently with my job, as well as my weekends - I haven't had much time to myself. I have been working on the second pink and red cushion cover for a while now - far too long! It's finally now at the stage where all sixteen granny squares have been completed, I just need to find the time to do the boring (and time consuming) job of  crocheting them together and tying the ends off, and then of course stitching it to the cover. It has taken me ages to do this one though because the wool is very fine and I am using such a small crochet hook. For this reason, for my next cushion, I have bought a bigger hook and chunkier wool!

Although I do love the fine wool final pieces, it's just too time consuming. I have now started making a chunky cream and purple cushion cover, which will be made up of nine squares, and will be the same size as the recent turquoise and navy blue one, which is available to buy on my Etsy shop.
I think that my next project will be a colourful throw for my bed, and then I may make some of those to sell too! I love the traditional granny square blankets, that are bright and colourful with lots of different, clashing colour. This will have to be made using the chunky wool again, otherwise it would probably take me years to create!

Let me know what you think to my lastest creations - any ideas are welcome, such as colour ideas or patterns to test out.




Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Jewellery Wishlist: the statement necklace




Above: Topshop

This Summer, one of my favourite jewellery trends is the statement necklace. With bright, neon colours being in fashion, this makes necklaces bolder than ever! Key trends include grunge, including spikes, triangles and geometric designs; neon, including splashes of bold pink, lime green and neon yellow; as well as tassels, such as beaded, leather or dip dyed tassels. These images show a few of my favourite pieces that are in stores at the moment. As you can see, I am a big fan of Topshop jewellery, and New Look too - they are both great for bargain jewellery. Another brand that I love for jewellery is Swarovski, which is a bit more pricey, but good if you are looking for something a bit more special. 

The two necklaces pictured above and below are both from Topshop, and are both similar in style, with them being tribal and bold. I especially love the one below - it would look great on a summer holiday, teamed with a black dress or playsuit, and is definitely on my wishlist! I think it's quite a bargain at £20 too.



Above: Topshop


 Above: Topshop

I love this flamingo necklace, and I have also spotted some matching flamingo earrings in store too - I just love the pendant! Flamingos are everywhere at the moment and this is one of my favourite designs, as I love the hint of coral colour too. Again, a great piece of jewellery for the Summer. If I don't buy the necklace, I will definitely get the earrings. Although as it is coming up to my birthday I may go ahead and treat myself to both of them!



Above: New Look

New Look is particularly cheap for jewellery, and does really good offers such as buy one get one free, which is when I always get loads of necklaces, bracelets, rings, etc, as I love a bargain! I actually have the collar necklace pictured above. It's a great alternative to the more brighter necklaces, with it being in pastel colours, and looks extra special when worn with pale denim. Even when the offers aren't on, it's still only £5.99, so you can't feel guilty!

A more expensive option is with Swarovski, as this necklace was £579, but is down to £405.30. I absolutely love this, and wish I could afford it! This is definitely my favourite, and although I do own some Swarovski jewellery ranging up to £200, this is definitely out of my price range...hopefully it will come down at bit more in the sales.

Above: Swarovski


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Trend: Ombre Hair

Having had the same hairstyle for a long time now, with the same colour and length, I have been thinking of something that I can do to change this. I need a change, as I'm getting very bored with it! So, after seeing the ombre hair trend coming into fashion, I decided to get my hair dyed (for the first time ever!).


Image: Jessica Alba.


Image: Leighten Meester.

I love this trend, and it's perfect for the summer as it looks great with a tan and just brightens up your look by having a slightly lighter shade in the bottom of your hair. It also means that you don't have to worry about your roots, which is a definite bonus! The images above show two different colour versions of the ombre look, with Jessica Alba's being a lot more dramatic.

Although I love both of these looks, I felt that as I hadn't ever dyed my hair before and didn't really know whether a light tone would suit my skin tone, I decided to go with a very subtle look, in a similar way to Leighton Meesters. I really like the honey tone to this, and how it just gradually blends into a slightly darker tone.


Above: my final result

After doing my research, I decided to go to the hairdressers and get this done. The hairdresser recommended that I go for the lightest shade of honey blonde, however, I didn't want to go too light immediately so I edged closer towards a slightly darker tone. I am very happy with the result, although it is very subtle, and a bit more than I'd of liked (probably my fault for picking a darker colour!). As my hair is classed as a dark blonde (whilst I would say it's brown), I thought the lighter shade would be too dramatic. 

I do love the colour though, and plan to venture back to get it done lighter next time.

Images: http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/beauty-and-hair/celebrity/hair/2010/09/celebrity-two-tone-hair#!image-number=37

Finally we have sunshine; time to get into shape!





So, I know I stated that I would aim to write a blog post at least once a week, but I have recently been enjoying the sunshine a bit too much, and I have slightly abandoned my blog for the last couple of weeks. Therefore I will give you an insight into what I've been doing. 

Although I haven't been particularly busy, I have been outside a lot, with my mum visiting and I have also decided to go on a bit of a health kick, which I just started last week. The reason for this is not so much lose weight (although that would be good!), but to simply just feel better for eating healthy and doing exercise. As the sun is now out, it would be good to get into shape a bit more too. I did get into the routine recently of eating out a lot, and not doing any exercise (apart from walking), and so I just decided that this needs to stop. So instead of running, my boyfriend has come up with a bit of a fitness routine for me, and is going to be my personal trainer throughout! I find it so much more motivational having someone there to actually make to exercise, as I am very unmotivated doing exercise by myself, so it is a massive help having him shouting in my ear to carry on, and to drag me back when I try running away! The routine involves skipping, sit-ups, press-ups, punches, lunges and the plank position. It involves alternating between cardio and muscular endurance, as I find it a lot easier to small bits at a time, and it seems to be working well so far. After attempting to go on a jog by myself and coming straight home after 2 minutes, it had to be done!


As you can see from the pictures, I have definitely been spending a lot of time relaxing in the sun too! Theres a really great park just around the corner from where I live in York (shown in the images), so I have been spending a lot of time there, relaxing by the lake and even having a picnic! Any free time is well spent enjoying great food, a good book or magazine and great company in the sunshine. Should of packed some sunscreen though as I did slightly burn one day.



I recently went on the York wheel with my boyfriend and mum. As you can see from the pictures, the views were excellent; you can clearly see the Minster, and it looks so much bigger from a distance! I must say that it was actually quite scary going on the eye - my mum had her eyes shut and nearly pressed the emergency stop button! I thinks its probably the fact the the carriages are very small and they do shake slightly which made me feel quite on edge, but apart from that it was a great experience.



I clearly sat on the wrong side, as all that was in the background in the photographs of myself were the train tracks - not the prettiest of views! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting York though, and the price isn't bad either. I'm going to try to spend a bit more time looking into the history of York over the summer; going on trips and visiting museums, as I can often forget how much of a great city it really is when I am in it all the time!