Wednesday, 30 July 2014

What I Ate Wednesday | Family Fun or Food?

Ooo my head hurts this morning. It's my own fault and entirely self inflicted so I ask for no sympathy but more on that later.
This #WIAW is on odd mix of healthy, new recipes and a plate of random stuff so lets crack on with it.


I recently bought the Breville Blend Active which I'm absolutely loving btw. It's just so handy and convenient which is not something I've tended to think about smoothie makers in the past. My breakfast for the last few mornings since I bought it has been a delicious mix of fruits.  This mornings smoothie was 2 bananas, a splash of almond milk and 2 handfuls of frozen blueberries. O how I love them so and I find they really fill me up for a long time. There's something about smoothies and juices that just make me feel really wholesome.
Do you have smoothies for breakfast? What's your favourite concoction?



Now I love, love, love a pizza! But as part of my 'trying to cut back on carbs' thing I'm always on the lookout for things that kinda have the pizza flavours and concept without all that heavy doughy base. So when I saw this recipe the other day I knew it was something I had to make myself. Ooo it was delicious. Props to Jenn for the idea.  You'll have to go and check out her page for some much nicer photos of how this recipe can look. It's simply a pepper chopped with a spoonful of tomato salsa inside, topped with some cheese and beautiful sliced yellow tumbling tom tomatoes that I hand picked from my greenhouse. There really is nothing like picking and cooking your own veg in a recipe.


Ok I admit tea was a shambles. My sister arrived with my niece (see this adoption party post) to spend a few days with us and my mum cooked tea. She made a chicken casserole, jacket potatoes, cauliflower cheese and veg. A typical British tea. As a veggie, I would normally have made something for myself in place of the chicken casserole but I just couldn't be bothered. I was enjoying spending time with my niece and food just wasn't on my mind. If I'm honest I was enjoying (ahem) one or two cheeky vodka and cokes and a good chin wag. Which is where the sore head comes from.

Do you ever do that? Catching up with friends or relatives and kinda forget to eat. 

Tea consisted of half a jacket potato, a bit of cauliflower cheese and a few peas. Kinda a weird tea but tasty none the less.  When I look back at these photos I realise I didn't really eat a whole lot so it's no surprise my head hurts this morning!

Do you have any special dietary requirements? (I'm a veggie) Are you catered for at family gatherings?  I always feel that as a veggie I'm such a pain for people to cater for and I feel awful that they have to make a whole other thing just for me.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fashion 5 | New Look Sale Must Buys

So what's better on a Sunday morning than browsing the internet doing some sale shopping?  Nothing I hear you say.  I couldn't agree more.  The only problem is where to sale shop.

I sat up in bed (yes that's right, it should definitely be done in bed) and wondered where to start first.  Then New Look popped into my head.  Now I hadn't shopped at New Look for quite a while but I went in the other week birthday shopping for my sister and there were so many pieces I'd love to have bought for myself. (I behaved and only bought my sister a present - I have willpower!)  So there it was, my answer.  I'll sale shop at New Look.  It's already cheap as chips anyway so the sale stuff must be a bargain I thought. And I was right.

I'm clearly feeling very pink / peachy today as these were my top 5 picks. I bought my sister a skort in the same pattern as the dress which I didn't realise until afterwards but never mind.   

New Look Sale

Where's your favourite place to sale shop?
What do you like to do on a Sunday morning?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Why I'm No Longer Weighing Myself

Let's talk about The Scale. Argghhh nooooo. Stay. Stay. I promise it's not that bad.
Are you a slave to the scale?  How often do you weigh yourself?  
Way back in May I started a Shape Up For Summer feature in which I weighed and measured myself each week in a bid to get my 'bikini body'. After a few weeks I decided to stop the whole shape up for summer idea. I don't want to shape up for summer. I want to be fit, healthy, eat clean, enjoy exercising for life, not for summer. 
What do I need for a bikini body? A body. Check. A bikini. Check. I already have a bikini body and so do you. Is it the best bikini body I could have? No. Do I love the idea of walking around in a bikini for all to see my lumps and bumps? No. But that's kinda ok.

As women we all have body issues/hangups/things we'd like to change. I am currently the heaviest, most out of shape I've ever been in my life and I don't like it and I'm consciously making an effort to change that. 

We give the scale so much power. Getting on a scale and seeing that number alters how I feel about myself. My mood, my happiness, hell even my self worth. The crazy thing is it doesn't really matter what the scales say - I'm never happy with it. I have never been a body confident woman. I scoured through my personal facebook and old photo albums and could find only 2 photos of me in a bikini.  In these photos I was 116lbs (I know that because I weighed myself everyday). Was I happy when I stepped on the scales and saw 116lbs? No I wasn't. 

They were taken 4 years ago on my annual summer holiday to our family villa in Spain. I was around 30 lbs lighter in these photos than I am now and hell, I look ok in my bikini. I vividly remember that holiday and period of my life. I was still trying to deal with a relationship breakdown, I'd quit my job, I was desperately unhappy, had incredibly low self esteem and, if I'm honest, really hated myself. I looked in the mirror and saw a big, fat whale of a woman.

My point being, rarely do we look as bad in a bikini as we think we do.

No longer will I allow that number on a scale to dictate how I feel about myself. I will wake up every morning and take little steps towards being a healthier me.

I want to be the best version of myself I can be.

Do I want a flat stomach, inner thigh gap and lean, toned arms? Of course I do. But most of all I want to be happy, I want to laugh with friends and family, I want to enjoy every precious moment with my son and I don't want to be a slave to The Scale.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Throwback Thursday | Dad's Actually In A Photo!

Hola Sparkly1s

How are you today?  I'm feeling all sun kissed after my wonderful day in the sun yesterday.  What's the weather like where you are?
I haven't done a #ThrowbackThursday for a few weeks so I thought I'd do one today as I do love myself a bit of nostalgia.
This weeks #TBT is from way back in 1987, I think. That's a guess as my little sister was born in 1987 and she looks under 1.
Check out my little star badge I'd got from school!  I don't remember why I got it - I think it was possibly star pupil of the week or something. I love that it's got a crease where it's been folded over to either fit in a wallet or photo frame.

This is a photo of my Dad with us 4 sisters outside his work.  I dunno what we were all doing there?  

You may know that my Dad died of cancer 3 years ago so photos like these become even more special.  Also, my dad was always the 'picture taker' never the 'picture subject' so it's sad to say that he's not actually in all that many photos.  Have you got a 'picture taker' in your family? I'm definitely it in my family.  I've always got a camera / iPhone in my hand to snap those happy moments.  Sometimes I feel I should put the camera down and just enjoy the moment for what it is but I can't help myself.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What I Ate Wednesday | The Good, The Bad And The Downright Ugly

Happy Wednesday all you beautiful Sparkly people.

You know when you wake up and you just know you are going to have nothing to complain about all day? Today is one of those days.

It's the first day of the long summer holidays around here which means no more school runs, no more work, no more rushing around having to be anywhere for 6 whole weeks! And... a 3 week holiday with friends and family in Espana to look forward to.  And... it's a glorious sunny day and I'm sat in the garden in the peace and quiet (everyone's out), drinking my morning icy water, writing this blog post.  I want to pause this moment in time and feel like this forever.

#WIAW What I Ate Wednesday

But I've rambled... onto todays #WIAW.  As you may have guessed from the title of this post todays food offerings are a mixed bag.  The day started off so well...

Breakfast (The Good) 

As you may know from last weeks #WIAW I'm trying to mix up my diet as I'm in a complete rut.  Whilst browsing recipes online I found this recipe for a Veggie Breakfast Bake.  I knew immediately I had to make it as it 
  1. was 3 of my 5 a day whacked into my breakfast
  2. contained protein
  3. was simple and quick to prepare
I have to say I was suitably impressed with this recipe and will definitely use it again.

Lunch (The Bad)

I realise the photo doesn't look very appealing and to be honest the meal wasn't very appealing.  The idea was good and I've had this before but slightly different.  It was simply a wrap filled with veg, a bit of cheese and tomato relish/salsa. 
The problem with this one was I didn't have any salsa so I used a Loyd Grossman sauce (the tomato and chilli one if you're interested) and it was so greasy.  You know when you order an Indian from the takeaway and it has that revolting layer of grease on the top that's what this sauce was like.
I filled the wrap with olives, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts and cheddar cheese.  All I can say is - I was disappointed.

Tea (The Downright Ugly)


So tea was a large portion of McDonalds fries.  What can I say? They just called out to me. 

The kids had finished school early for the summer so some came round to play.  The paddling pool was out.  We were making loom bands on the grass. And I couldn't be bothered cooking so I took the kids to McDonalds. 

Loom Bands

I don't particularly like McDonalds (being a veggie there ain't much there I can eat anyway!) but I do like the fries.

Peas and crayons #WIAW
Do you ever have days like this - where it all starts off so well, you have a nice, healthy breakfast and by the end of the day you just can't be bothered with tea?  It's quite a regular thing with me.  I guess as I'm only cooking for myself and Mini Greenoid it's sometimes harder to motivate myself to cook a healthy, nutritious meal than if I was cooking for a larger family.  That's my excuse anyway and I'm sticking with it.  


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Fashion 5 | Topshop Orange Summer 2014

Hola Sparkly1s

I have an odd relationship with orange. I just have never really got to grips with it.  I don't like orange sweets or orange flavouring and I don't like orange clothes... that is until I found these beauties when I was browsing on Topshop.  I just had to put together a Fashion 5!
 Orange is definitely a pick-me-up kinda colour.  I challenge anyone to be miserable whilst wearing such a bright, happy colour.   I can definitely see the midi skirt (number 1) teamed with a plain, simple vest top and the fabulous statement collar necklace (number 2).  Ooo I just want them all!    


Is there any colour clothing you don't really wear?  Which one's your favourite piece?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What I Ate Wednesday | Mixing It Up

Hola Sparkly1s

Check me out and my WIAW that doesn't include anything I've eaten in a #WIAW post before. Oh yeah - I'm branching out!  If this is the first time you've joined us for a What I Ate Wednesday, let me bring you up to speed - I'm in a food rut, or should I say, was in a food rut.  I ate virtually the same thing everyday.  I've really made an effort this past week to look through recipes and get new ideas for ways to cook things.


I am consciously trying to cut a bit of fruit out of my diet and replace with veggie snacks but I definitely feel I need some fruit in my breakfast.  I've tried alternatives throughout the week but I really crave and miss the sweetness from some fruit.  This morning I had a Triple Berry Smoothie, originally made for the 4th of July but I loved them so much I've been making them ever since.  It's really filling and gives me my sugar fix for the day.


O.M.G I hear you cry - it's not avocado and tomatoes on toast! In my quest for variety I discovered this baked egg and avocado recipe which I thought I'd give a go.  I don't like egg yolks so mine was just egg whites inside the avocado. No recipe I saw prepared me for the effort it took to actually get the egg inside the avocado and into the oven without the egg tipping out all over the place. There's definitely a nack to this - I had to open my oven, carefully balance my avocado on the edge of the tray, tip my egg white in, then ever so carefully close the oven door. It was hard work! I ate it with a small salad and a kind of ratatouille that I always have in the freezer. It was tasty.


Tea was a scrumptious quinoa 'thing'. Quinoa, fried veg (onion, bell pepper and a chilli) and watercress. 

Do you have certain dishes you always make? 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Glossybox | July 2014 | Stars And Stripes

Hola Sparkly1s

Is there any better feeling than knowing you have a fabulous parcel on the way and then the doorbell goes? I almost do a little squeal of excitement.  I have a lot of parcels delivered and pretty much class all the various delivery drivers as my friends.
I decided about a week ago I wanted to add to all the parcels I receive and subscribe to GlossyBox. If you don't know, GlossyBox is a monthly subscription beauty box that's delivered to your door each month with various make-up and beauty products. My first parcel arrived today! I almost grabbed it off the postman as he fumbled around with his letters and his little techy machine thing.

I eagerly opened up my parcel to be greeted by an adorable little stars and stripes box filled with 5 beauty products.

The products I received are:
Carmex is a product I used to use all the time. Now I'm talking years ago, like when I was 14 or something. You couldn't get it in the UK back then and I'm not sure who, but someone used to bring them back for me when they went on holiday. I'm not sure why I stopped using it but I'm pleased to have received this product and it's gone straight into my handbag.  It's fantastic for soothing dry and chapped lips and with menthol, camphor and beeswax lips are protected all year round.

This is a full size Bellapierre Cosmetics Mineral Lipstick, which is a cult American favourite. It is formulated with natural waxes and has vitamin C and E in it. I got the shade 'Ruby' which I initially wasn't very pleased about as I don't tend to wear red lipsticks. But after testing it out I changed my mind. I'm trying to vary my make-up at the moment as I'm in a complete rut so this is the ideal opportunity. 
The swatch is a deep red with orangey undertones. It has a really creamy, soft texture and is extremely pigmented. I'm really quite pleased with this one and am looking forward to wearing it.

Again, this nail varnish was one I was initially slightly disappointed with but it has grown on me.  It is a full size Color Club in the shade Glossy Seal which has been especially formulated for the July Glossybox. After looking into this brand online I discovered they are made with non-toxic, cruelty free ingredients, which is a big plus point for me. 
I tried this one on my toes as I'd just painted my hands and I was quite pleased with the colour. It's something very different from what I have in my collection so I'm pleased to add it in.

This is another full size product - the Absolute New York Perfecting Eyeshadow Primer. I have a confession to make. I have never used an eyeshadow primer in my life so I'm really looking forward to trying this one out

This Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara is something I've been wanting to try for a while now  so I was thrilled when I spotted this little baby. Apparently it has lengthening, curling, volumising and conditioning properties - and who doesn't want that in a mascara?
Do you subscribe to GlossyBox? What did you get in yours?  If you don't subscribe does this lot make you want to?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Asos Dress Haul

Asos Dress Haul

Hola Sparkly1s

A while ago I did a Fashion 5 | Asos Swing Dresses post about my favourite swing / skater style dresses. I find the style really flattering as I'm an optimistic size 10 (otherwise known as a 12) apple shape. As an apple shape I like to show of my legs as they're definitely my best feature.

I had a little Asos haul recently so I thought I'd share my purchases with you.  The links to the dresses are below each one.



Which ones your favourite?  I think mine's the one with the birds on. 
Have you shopped at Asos lately?  What did you buy?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Primark Haul | YouTube

Hola Sparkly1s

I've only gone and done a YouTube video haven't I!  I've wanted to start a You Tube channel for ages now but I didn't have the recording equipment so when I got my Canon 700D it was only a matter of time before I bit the bullet and went for it.
YouTube is a scary thing.  Here on a blog it's quite easy to hide behind the written word but out there in the scary YouTube world you're there for all to see. 
I'm not completely new to YouTube.  Some of you may know that I already have a gaming YouTube channel (I'm a huge Minecraft fan!) but this being in front of the camera is a whole new experience for me.

This channel (Gemzicle Sprinkles), is going to be all my girlie stuff - hair, make-up, clothes, hauls and loads more.  Go ahead and check it out.

If the embedded video isn't working for you HERE'S the direct link to YouTube.
I hope you enjoy, please give the video a like and if you'd like to subscribe, I'll love you forever!
Are you on YouTube?  Let's share the love - link your channel down below.