Sunday, 30 January 2011

My 15 Answers

Today is 'Sunday Summary' day, but I don't particularly know what I want to say yet, so I will do that one day this week and have a bash at the 15 questions tag that is going round.

1) What is your dream job?
My dream job is White House Chief of Staff. I absolutely adore The West Wing tv show and from the very first episode I have been interested in American politics and elections. In my mind I would be more of a Josh Lyman than a Leo McGarry. So if President Obama is looking for a new Chief, here I am!

2) What is your favourite fragrance for Winter?
My all time favourite perfume is Alien by Thierry Muglier. I don't change my perfume for the seasons, I just have the ones I have and love. Alien is closely followed by Flowerbomb and Coco Mamoiselle.

3) How do you take your tea/coffee?
I love coffee way more than tea, taken with no sugar but loads of milk. Tea has to be Yorkshire Tea, 2 sugars and again, lots of milk. Preferably with a biscuit or two!

4) What is your most important beauty secret?
Never go to sleep with your makeup on, its so important for your skin to be able to 'breathe' whilst you're alsleep. Even a quick once over with a babywipe is better than leaving it on.

5) If you had an all expenses paid vacation, where would you go?
Bora Bora, i'm dying to stay in one of the over-water bungalows so I can feed the fish through the coffee table. Although I kind of want to save it for my honeymoon (when I actually do get married). 

6) If a genie popped up in your lap right now and offered you three wishes, what would you ask?
I would ask before anything else for good health for my family. I have 2 aunts right now battling cancer, one on my dad's side and one on my mom's side. I've already lost 3 aunts and uncles over the last three years so I think it's about time we got a break! My second wish would be for my brother to quit smoking, all of the family we've lost to cancer have been heavy smokers, I'm very lucky that my mom and dad have never smoked, so if my brother quit I would be much happier. My 3rd wish would be to have a never ending bank account. Who ever said money can't buy happiness is lying. I am so so so lucky to have my parents and incredibly grateful to have experienced the things I have and to be able to live so comfortably. There is a whole big wide world out there and I want to see as much of it as possible. Unfortunately that doesn't come cheap.

7) If you could only have breakfast, lunch, dinner or desert foods for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Dinner food definitely, breakfast and lunch are just never as nice as a lovely dinner. Spaghetti bolognese, shepherds pie, roast dinners, everything on a chinese menu, my list could go on forever...

8) If you were Hello Kitty what colour hair bow would you wear?
I'm going to be boring and say black. I love hair accessories, but all my favourite ones are black. 

9) What is your biggest makeup pet peeve?
Too much blusher. I firmly believe blusher is meant to mimic the natural flush of your cheeks. Aunt Sally is never a good look! If i'm allowed another one I have to mention mismatched foundation, an orange-type ring around your face is really unattractive.

10) If you could wear only one piece of jewellery for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My Tiffany Key, its my most treasured piece of jewelry and always will be.

11) What one talent do you wish you had?
I wish I had a sporting talent, my preference would be the best 100m sprinter in the world. I can just imagine how amazing it would be to win the Gold at the Olympics.  

12) Which product will you continue to purchase?
V05 Mega Hold hair gel, its the only things that controls my hair perfectly. If this was ever discontinued, I have no idea what I would do. Its incredible when you have really thick, very curly hair like mine.

13) If you could look into the future, would you? And what would you like to know?
If I could I would go 10 years into the future, I would be almost 35 and I'd like to see myself married with a 2 year old and a baby on the way. Living in a countryside mansion with 2 pigs called Rasher & Bacon and a stable full of horses.  At christmas we would have the whole family round, all 25+ of them and we'd play cards all night and not sleep.

14) Who is your biggest celebrity crush? Include a picture!
I have to say my celebrity crushes change like the weather, but it's been Graeme McDowell for a long time now.

15) What made you start a blog?
I used to have a youtube makeup channel, a long long time ago, so I stated a blog to run parallel to that. Eventually after a few changes it has come to resemble A Girl Writes, I don't think i'll change from this now. I've found my happy place with it.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Jumping back on the train...

As a teenager my favourite TV show was Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and my favourite line ever is "Jump on the train or get off the tracks" Well this week I'm firmly getting off the track and on the train. Over the last year or so I lost roughly 5 stone in weight, which left me feeling fabulous, I got to buy new clothes in MUCH smaller sizes and loved other people noticing my hard work. However, lately I have fallen well and truly off the wagon. In the last 3 months or so i've put a lot back on and its making me really unhappy. So this week, the honeymoon period is over, christmas has been and gone and my holiday is no more.

I'd decided to back to Rosemary Conley this week but after watching (and following on twitter) Gemma and her HealthyHappyLife channel, I've decided to give Weight Watchers another go. I find it really hard to lose weight without the restriction of going to meetings. If you cheat, it is so much more mortifying hearing you've put on weight at a class than just shrugging it off from the scales at home and that is what stops me being naughty, if you see what I mean. The class is tonight and I'm actually quite excited about it. I know a few other blogging girls (and non-blogging readers!) are trying to lose weight, get fit and generally enjoy a healthier lifestyle, so I'm going to be around encouraging you all. We can do it!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Smythson Love

Even as a young girl growing up I've always loved stationary, notebooks, pens, anything to do with writing and books. At the airport I stumbled across Smythson, I've never seen or heard of them before, but they have the most beautiful collection of leather notebooks and diaries, amongst other things. They are very very expensive but I would just love to have one of their notebooks. I have my eye on this one. See the gorgeousness below.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunday Summary

Sunday has come around again, I like doing these posts because there are things I want to mention but don't need a whole post to themselves. So this week, all images found at We Heart It.

Having A Workspace 
If you follow me on twitter you'll know that I reorganised my makeup station into a sort of desk. I will post pictures and stuff soon, but it has just been great having a place to write in my journal and plan my upcoming posts. I just love making my coffee, putting on my Gilmore Girls dvds and catching up on the internet world of blogs, facebook, youtube, etc... Sitting at a desk is much more healthy that slouching on the sofa. Not only that but I can use a mouse with my laptop, which is a luxury when putting together a blog post.

 Forever 21
On holiday I took my first steps into Forever 21. I loved it so much, it was so cheap I managed to buy clothes, pj's and a load of jewelry for $200. I will have a separate post coming this week as soon as I get my camera back. I'm a little disappointed in the UK prices, girls we are being ripped off over here!

Bookclub ♥
My cousin Gemma has started a bookclub on her blog here. The first book is Room by Emma Donoghue. It sounds really good, my copy came in the post on Friday and I can't wait to start reading it. I've already started to think of what book I should choose when my turn comes around.

The Burlesque Soundtrack
Don't get me wrong, I thought the film was pretty rubbish. It was so predictable and so cheesy. However, the songs were really good and I love Christina Aguilera's voice. Show Me How You Burlesque is my favourite, I love getting ready to it in the morning.

That's it for this week folks! Until next time...

Saturday, 22 January 2011

I Found A Routine Finally

Hello my lovelies,

Over the past few months I've been through a massive change within my daily routine, gone are the endless hours of deciding my makeup the night before, gone is the constant switching of skincare, gone is the daily change of makeup in my makeup bag. I now have a fine tuned routine and set of products that fit into a tiny makeup bag and has me washed and ready in less than 10 minutes, and you know what, this works great for me. Apologies for the iPhone photo, my mom has borrowed my camera to print off some photos of our trip.

In order of usage:

1. Talika Lash Conditioning Cleanser 
2. Simple Kind To Skin Moisturisng Facial Wash
3. Dermalogica Clean Start All Over Clear
4. Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser
5. Urban Decay Primer Potion
6. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium 
7. YSL Touche Eclat in No.1
8. Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in 001 Dark Brown
9. Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Underground
10. YSL Faux Cils Mascara in Black 
11. Too Faced Blush in Papa Don't Peach
12. Chapstick, the Medicated kind
13. D&G Eau De Toilette in 3 L'Imperatrice

These 13 steps are the easiest things to do in the morning and give me extra time in bed. I've used these products for months now and they work for me. My skin feels good, I have less breakouts and they don't cost a bomb. There are some expensive things here but I don't have to replace them very often. I only use liquid foundation and eyeshadow if i'm going out anywhere. I only use the Talika eye lash cleanser at night to take off my makeup, but its part of my daily routine so I included it in the picture. The only thing i'm really missing is a good eye cream, I've tried a few so far and haven't found 'the one'. I bought the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream  from Sephora to try. As i've only just finshed unpacking I haven't tried it out yet, I have high hopes for it. 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

One To Watch This Week

I've thought it might be nice to post one of these each week, it could be a film, tv programme, youtube video, anything really. This weeks 'One To Watch' goes to The Town, based on the book Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan.

"The Charlestown neighborhood of Boston is renowned for churning out a high number of armed robbers, generation after generation. These robbers never leave their Charlestown life on their own volition, the neighborhood where there is an unwritten code to protect that lifestyle. Such robbers include friends Doug MacRay, James Coughlin, Albert 'Gloansy' Magloan and Desmond Elden. Doug and James in particular treat each other like family, as the Coughlins have realistically been as such to Doug since Doug's mother ran off and Doug's father, Stephen MacRay, was sent to prison. James' single mother sister, the drugged out Krista Coughlin, and Doug have a casual sexual relationship. The foursome carry out a mostly successful bank robbery, but due to circumstances take the bank manager, Claire Keesey, hostage for a short period before releasing her physically unharmed. What happens when they find out that Claire lives in Charlestown..."

I watched this on the plane coming home and have since downloaded it and watched it again. Honestly this film is so good. Ben Affleck, Blake Lively and particularly Jeremy Renner are brilliant in it. There are a lot of action scenes but also enough for us girls to enjoy. I loved the ending, I thought it was perfect. Not only that, I adore the Boston accent! If you watch it or have already seen it, please let me know what you thought of it. I thought it was awesome!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Ooooh I've, Had The Time Of My Liiiiiife...

Just uploaded my photos, so I can finally fill you in on my trip last week, I really did have the time of my life (a la Black Eyed Peas). I just love Vegas, the whole city makes me happy. The restaurants, the people, the hotels/casinos, seeing a show, shopping, just everything. If you haven't ever been, you really should go.

In California, my family made me so welcome, we went up to Beverly Hills so I could try Pinkberry and Sprinkles cupcakes, walked down Rodeo Drive, did a little shopping at The Grove and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. I got to spend time with my new baby cousin Landon, who is just too cute. I love him to pieces. We had a Golden Globes party of sorts along with my cousins Jenni, Todd and their friend Juan, where by we had wine, cheese & nibbles and had a little competition on who guessed the most award winners. I came 2nd with 8. Todd took home the (imaginary) trophy with 10. I could go on and on but I think the photos say it best.

The Forever 21 store in Las Vegas's Fashion Show Mall is the biggest in the company, I was literally in heaven. I got loads of jewelry and some clothes. I don't think any of the necklaces I got were over $8, the rings were all less than $5. Which is amazing considering the prices in the UK for exactly the same stuff. I refuse to buy them from the UK store/website. The difference is crazy!

I was really looking forward to eating here at Serendipity 3 and trying the famous 'Frozen Hot Chocolate', let just say it was disappointing. Don't get me wrong, the food was delicious but the dessert not so much. It was watery and just a really weird thing to eat/drink. I won't be returning for more anytime soon.

I had a little gamble on the slot machines, I only played for pennies but I did hit a bonus and won $41.20. I felt great watching the machine count it into your balance. Of course, I ended giving it all back by the end of the holiday. Lol!

On our last but one night we went to Le Cirque, a restaurant in the Bellagio for a slap up meal, it was gorgeous. I got to try a Wagyu beef steak, it was mouthwatering. I understand why they are so sought after, not to mention expensive. We had a lovely night and the restaurant was pretty spectacular. 

As a special treat we went to see the Cirque du Soleil show 'Viva Elvis' on our last night, I had called up before and got us front row, centre seats. Boy it was worth it, one of the most amazing shows i've ever seen. I didn't think anything could top the Lion King but I think this might have. Incredible!

On Friday we drove to LA to see my family and spend some time in California. En route we stopped at this cute diner. The drive is about 5 hours and about halfway we were starving and desperate for the loo. Peggy Sue's Diner was a pretty cool place to stop!

Obviously I got to meet Landon, I haven't shut up about it for weeks. Lol! He's 2 and a half months now. I've just chosen a few of my favourite pics. We took a lot of him. 

In LA we got to do a lot in a short time, here are a few of my favourites from the 3 days. Clockwise from top left: The Cheesecake Factory @ The Grove, view of LA from the top of the car park, Chanel store on Rodeo Drive, the famous RD sign, driving through Beverly Hills, Me outside Gladstones restaurant, Santa Monica beach as the sun sets.

Looking back at these pictures really makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Well Hello There!

Hi Everyone,

First and foremost I want to say a huge hello and thank you to all my new followers. I have been a bit overwhelmed by you all this week. I haven't logged on in over a week and was a bit shocked to see my follower count in the 80's. Yowsers! I wasn't expecting that! So welcome one and all, it's really great to see you.

Second, where do I begin?! At the moment i'm sitting in the Air New Zealand lounge at LAX, because they are partnered with Virgin Atlantic. We're all checked in after having the most wonderful week. We have shopped, gambled, eaten, walked, and baby talked, just generally enjoyed everything Vegas and LA had to offer. I will put up a post later in the week with pictures and more details but I just wanted to check in with everything. I haven't forgotten you in the least. I have bought a couple of things I want to share on the blog with you and I have a lot I want to write about, so all of that good stuff is coming!

(This is where we ate lunch today, Gladstones Cafe in Santa Monica. It's a gorgeous view, right on the beach.)

I am so pleased my two posts went through the 'Scheduled Posts' process so smoothly. I would have felt bad neglecting you all for a week, especially when i'd just got back into the habit. My cousins Jenni & Todd had an iMac and I had a little go on it to check my facebook, ooooooh I want one even more now!

Well, my flight boards in 25 minutes and I want to take advantage of all the free food and booze on offer, so i'm signing off. I expect my next post to be up either late Tuesday night or sometime on Wednesday. I don't get into Heathrow until 1:05pm Tuesday, so it will probably be Wednesday.


P.S. Angela Griffin is sitting opposite me right now, the only celebrity sighting of my trip!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Love & Other Drugs with Pizza Express

Hey guys and dolls,

I'm still in Vegas, going to see Viva Elvis tonight! A huh huh! I scheduled this to post whilst i'm away, fingers crossed!

So I mentioned in my Sunday Summary this week that I went to see Love & Other Drugs with my friends Michelle and Sean. We hit up Pizza Express first, I had the Da Morire Romana and it was soooo yummy. I toyed with being healthy but the pizza won me over in the end. The cheesecake dessert is to die for, worth the 10 million calories!

So on to the film, I have to say I was expecting it to be way more cheesy and chick-flicky than it was. I don't want to give away any of the plot but they tackled the sensitive subject of Parkinsons Disease really well and kept the film serious in parts. Yet at the same time, you were left laughing all the way through. Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal play their roles so well, Hathaway in particular. Inevitably I was holding back the tears at the end. I would recommend everyone to go see it, the content is definitely not for young viewers, but well worth watching for everyone else. Another good point is that there is a good balance of content for both men and women, your other halves will enjoy it too. If you go see it, please let me know what you thought of it. I don't know how anyone could not like it.

Anyhoo, normal blogging service will resume next week, I wish you all a good weekend.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I Wish I Was A Gilmore

Over christmas I happened to catch half an episode of the Gilmore Girls on E4. I've never watched it before and now i'm totally addicted. I have watched Series 1 and half of Series 2 and ordered 3 & 4 off amazon. Yes, thats how obsessed I am, I have no life outside of Stars Hollow.

Roughly the show is based around a single mother and her daughter's lives in a small town in Connecticut. So why do I want to be a Gilmore? Well, I've always dreamed of living in a town like Stars Hollow, where everybody knows everybody and you have street parties on the 4th of July. If your feeling ill, your neighbours would come and bring you their famous chicken soup. There's the coffee shop you visit everyday and your job brings you nothing but joy. There's one little shop, a post office and a used bookstore. You marry the guy next door who's always gorgeous and so wholesome and yadda yadda yadda... 

Yes I live for small town america! Sometimes I get so sick of living in a big city, where my neighbours find it a chore to smile at me as I walk to my car. People would think you were barking if you said hello to everyone you passed in the street. However, this year I am going to find one thing that gives me the satisfaction of thinking I have some resemblance to Stars Hollow right here in Solihull. I'm thinking I might volunteer for something or join a club of some sort. Stay tuned for the next installment of 'I Wish I Was A Gilmore'

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sunday Summary

Hey Cutes,

I have been reading Victoria's Monday Summaries for a long time, so inspired by her I thought I would use the same idea on my blog. I'm hoping to put one up every Sunday to round up my week.

Love & Other Drugs
I went to see this on Friday night, I was blown away by how good it is. I will have a full review coming up later this week, but just have to say to you all, go watch it! It is a perfect balance of a serious subject and humour. Not to mention how frikkin HOT Jake Gyllenhaal is in this. Wow! Cold showers all round!

I have really missed keeping up with the blogging world. I have been in a real online rut, but I feel like i've broken our of the box this week. I have rebooted my blog into something I am much happier with and more comfortable posting whatever I feel like. I am going to try to comment on at least 30 different blogs each month. Sort of like one a day, but not literally. If you get me.

 Take Me Out 
Oh Paddy McGuinnes how I love thee! I'm so happy this program is back. I love it, this series has me cracking up all the time. However I do feel these girls are a tad too fussy. Whilst we all want to find a Prince William, David Beckham, Brad Pitt, you get the gist, reality is very different and we have to compromise a little. So what if you like to relax to Barry Manilo or whoever, not really a deal breaker is it! 

I don't know when I stopped reading but I am now fully back in the swing. I have loaded up my kindle with some classics ready for my holiday and am looking forward to working my way thorough my 'to read' shelf. I recently started The Lovely Bones, oh my word can you say tears, one chapter in and I was in floods. Its so graphic, but in a really heartfelt way. I'm loving it.

I have been gradually working my way through the piles of washing and ironing I need for my holiday and whilst I would not usually express such happiness at domestic goddessing like this, it does put a huge smile on my face as I know my holiday is rapidly approaching. One can't grumble at that can one!

So i'm jetting off to LA & Vegas on Monday for a week, I have scheduled some posts so hopefully they will be posted without glitches (...pause while I touch wood...) and I will see you all on the other side.

 All images sources at We Heart It ♥♥♥

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Easy Homemade Pizza Recipe

Cooking is one of my favourite hobbies of late, my love of Nigella in full bloom, I have been attempting beer casseroles, truffle oil pasta, homemade breads and cakes, with my most recent offering being such a success I thought I would share this easy-make pizza recipe with you all. I got given a heart shaped pizza kit for christmas but the instructions were all in Itallian, not very helpful but I have a wealth of cookbooks to help me out.  After a quick flick through them all, I found this pizza dough to be, not only, the easiest to make but also it doesn't need any complicated ingredients. I made this on a whim and had everything I needed in my cupboards.

The recipe I used is Nigella's Pizza Casareccia from her Domestic Goddess book, although I completely changed the toppings to suit me, so i'm not sure how much 'Casareccia' is involved after all!

For the Dough, you will need:

250g Plain Flour
1 Heaped Tsp Easy-Blend Yeast 
1/2 Tsp Salt
150ml Warm Water
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

On to the actual 'making' - Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir in the water and oil to form something on its way to being a dough, then tip the contents of the bowl on to a lightly floured surface. Knead this for about 5 minutes, you should have a light, springy dough but still a bit sticky to touch. (If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook, you can do all the above with it.) Put into an oiled bowl and turn it to lightly cover the dough with the oil. Finally cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Whilst your dough is rising get your topping ingredients ready, the official ones are:

200g Tinned Tomatoes
2-3 Pinches Dried Oregano
4 Slices Fine-Cut Ham
2-3 Gherkins (chopped)
Anchovies (optional)
Fresh Parmesan, Mozzarella or any other cheese of your choice

However, I didn't have most of these ingredients so I used what I had in my fridge. So on top of the tomato mixture (tomatoes, oregano and salt - stirred in a bowl ready to spread on your dough), I mixed fresh parmesan and goats cheese, some packet ham, mushrooms and red onions.

 Turn on your oven to preheat at 240/Gas Mark 9. Once your dough has had its hour, knock the air out of the dough with oiled hands, knead a little and push into a baking tray. I doesn't matter if it's round, rectangular or even heart shaped.

Spread the tomato mixture over the top of your dough and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out the pizza, top with the ingredients of your choice and bake for another 5-10 minutes, your pizza is ready when the edges are crisp. This feeds 3-4 people generously, I would serve it with a side salad. Your finished pizza should look a little like this.

Friday, 7 January 2011

My Month of Music - January

Being a music lover, I decided to make this kind of monthly series of my current favourite songs. A top 10, if you will. I've been out of the blogger loop for months and months now so I don't if anyone has done this before or is doing it now, but I thought i'd give it a whirl anyway.

So my top 10 in January is a really ecelctic mix I think, something for everyone. These aren't in any particular order, except the last one!

1. Happiness - Alexis Jordan
2. Your Song - Ellie Goulding
3. The Silence - Alexandra Burke
4. Miami 2 Ibiza - Swedish House Mafia
5.The Flood - Cheryl Cole
6. Just Drive - Alistair Griffin
7. Whip My Hair - Willow Smith
8. Why Wait - Rascal Flatts
9. Stuttering - Fefe Dobson

And my number 10 is Thinking Of Me by Olly Murs, I love it so much, it just makes me want to dance. Check it out, he's definitely one of my favourite acts to come out of the X-Factor.

New Beginnings - When Life Gives You Lemons...

...Make Lemonade!

Lately I have had the urge to put myself back into the blogosphere. I took a break for a long time because I just wasn’t enjoying it. I think this mainly stems from my lack of enthusiasm with makeup and beauty as of late. But i’ve realised that I really don’t have to blog about makeup at all, I have a lot more to say & a lot more in my life than makeup and worrying about which collections are coming out this month and so on... So ‘A Girl Writes...’ is more of a welcome to my world, an online diary if you will, that i’ve decided to put out into the virtual kingdom. 
Tonight I went on a ‘date’ with one of my bestie’s Emily, she asked me out to dinner to say thank you for buying our Grand Ole Opry tickets in September. We went to McKees Brasserie in Balsall Common. They have really lovely food and give you an amuse bouche to start and little petit fours with your coffee which make all the difference. These little extras make you feel special, or that you’re getting more than you paid for. They have a different menu every month and there is a set price of £19.95 for 3 courses (plus coffee - as a coffee addict I must get that in!) I took my camera with intention of taking loads of pictures of the food, yet Emily remimded me when our dessert came that I hadn’t taken any pictures. Lol! I did get some good ones after that though!

I thought the food was lovely, except the lemon tart petit fours at the end. They weren’t that tasty at all. But I did have a lovely time with Emily, It was very nice to catch up over dinner.
Tomorrow i’m going to see 'Love and Other Drugs', i've been dying to watch this since I first saw the trailer. I'm hoping it lives up to my expectations. The last film I saw at the cinema was 'Burlesque', which definitely didn't live up to expectations! I think it's best put as UTTER RUBBISH! 

I've got a few more blog posts up my sleeve and will get them up this weekend!

Thank you all for sticking with me during my mid-blog-crisis! 

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