Owl of Dates #1: Ice Cream and Compliments

Monday 28 July 2014

I can't remember if I ever wrote about what I got Tim for Christmas, it was such a long time ago... Anyway, I didn't have a great lot of money to spend on him, so I thought it would be cool to make him something. After scouring pinterest for hours on end finding NOTHING of interest, I found something call a Jar of Dates. Essentially what you do is fill a jar full of ideas for dates, you can include pre-paid dates, sweets, vouchers, tickets, whatever you like. Seeing as I didn't have a great deal of money, I just put some ideas for dates in his jar. On top of that, I didn't want to put these ideas into any old jar, and that's when I stumbled across a ceramic owl in Wilkinsons, and I knew it was perfect! That's how the Owl of dates was born!

Up until this week, we hadn't actually drawn an idea out of the owl, but we were feeling like doing something together today, so Tim picked one out and this is what we got.

'Make your own chocolate bowls! Serve your favourite ice cream in the bowls, and use your favourite sweets, and sauces to add to the experience. Whilst eating your ice cream and bowls, give each other two compliments, and then give yourself a compliment'

Tim always gets very excited at the mention of chocolate, so you can imagine his delight when he saw what we would be making. ALSO instead of buying ice cream, Tim really wanted to try out my Easy Peasy Ice Cream which I wrote about last year.

So first things first, the chocolate bowls. All you'll need is a couple of bars of your preferred chocolate, some balloons, and a baking tray.

Start off by melting the chocolate in the microwave, in a plastic bowl. Do this in 10 second bursts, stirring the chocolate each time. Stop microwaving when you can stir it and the lumps begin to melt simply from the heat of the rest of the chocolate.

Place your melted chocolate into a large bowl (if you need to) and dip your balloons into the chocolate, making sure to go as far up the sides as you need to.

Then place them on a baking tray and leave them to set! You may need to repeat the above step a second time to make sure that your chocolate bowls are thick enough.

Once you are happy with them and they are set, simply pop the balloon and peel it away from the chocolate, and you are done!

Now onto the Easy Peasy Ice cream, and you only need two main ingredients for this recipe...

500ml of Double cream, and 400ml of condensed milk! It really is that basic...

Put them in a mixing bowl together, and then whisk away until the mixture thickens like the below picture, it may take a while...

Once your mixture looks like this, you can add your flavourings, sweeties, or whatever you like, just fold it in gently so as not to reverse that whisking you just did!

Tim and I don't do things by halves... and we went for a whopping THREE flavours. All we did was divide the mixture into three separate bowls and then added our flavourings, these are what we went for.

The first flavour is just for me, and it's peanut butter with chocolate chips, I have become completely obsessed with peanut butter ice cream at the moment. The second flavour is caramel, very similar to what I made when I first tried this recipe, with this we mixed the caramel in, but then added little splodges on top so you get extra caramel. The final flavour is pretty plain, but with all the sauces and treats we are going to add later, we didn't want another crazy flavour, so we just went with vanilla. 

Then believe it or not, all you have to do, is let them set in the freezer!

Now Tim and I cannot simply be happy with chocolate bowls, so we had to go crazy with sauces and toppings!

So all that was left was to build our ice cream sundaes! We couldn't help ourselves and had a scoop of each ice cream, a couple of sauces, and of course all the toppings!

That wasn't the end of our date though, we also had to give each other 2 compliments and then give ourselves one compliment! I won't make you all feel sick with our compliments to each other, but I thought I'd let you guys know my compliment to myself, and that was: 'I feel like when I actually try hard, I can achieve whatever I want'. Tim did mention how this was a bit of a back-handed compliment, however I'm not very good at complimenting myself, so I'm going to stick with that!
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Graze Box #2

Thursday 24 July 2014

The last two weeks since I received my first Graze Box seriously flew by, when I came home from work on Friday my second Nibble box was waiting for me!

To be honest I was a little disappointed that none of my 'send soon' items were in this box, but I still got some seriously yummy treats! Here's what I got from top left to bottom right:

  • Hot Cross Yum: A Mix of sponge pieces, cinnamon and honey almonds and orange infused raisins. This snack contains 134 Calories all in all. I didn't expect to like this to be honest, but my god was I wrong. The cinnamon and honey almonds make this amazing!
  • Black Pepper Pistachios: pistachio nuts, salt, natural black pepper flavourings. A cool 104 Calories in these bad boys. I'm not normally a fan of pepper, but it's really subtle in these, which I was definitely glad about.
  • Bonnie Wee Oatbakes: A yummy red onion marmalade with cheese and chive oatbakes. Surprisingly only 111 Calories in these ones... I was really excited for these, but to be honest the items individually weren't great, but together, were pretty tasty.
  • Jaffa Cake Flapjack: A rustic rolled oat flapjack with chocolate and orange. The highest of them all with 242 calories! I was so disappointed with this snack, it was SO dry, I definitely won't be asking for this in my box again...
Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these snacks, and let me know what you thought about them. Don't forget, if you want to get your first, fifth and tenth Graze box for free, then sign up with the code: ALYSSI9NP, and enjoy!

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Weekly Weigh In: Week #7

Saturday 19 July 2014

Is it that time again already? It feels like only yesterday that I sat down to write my first Weekly Weigh in post...

This week I was pretty strict with myself on my fast days, but then found myself indulging a little on my feast days. Monday I managed to convince Tim to get me chips from the chip shop to go with our homemade pizza. On Friday there was cake at work as someone was leaving, and my colleague had Butterkist popcorn, and I treated myself to Onion Ring crisps... Basically it was quite indulgent... Then today I went out for lunch with my friends and was super naughty, eating almost all my daily calories in one meal! Ridiculous...

I did try and exercise this week, but that failed miserably. I got the free version of the 0-5k app, and we went on the first run, and it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be, in fact I was quite proud of my first run. However as soon as I got home, I had another exercise triggered Migrane, and actually ended up going to bed at 9pm as it totally zapped me. It really sucks, because I'm trying so hard to fit exercise in, and as soon as I do I feel sick... I'm thinking of taking up Yoga, and hoping that it may solve the problem, but it means that I can't keep up my 0-5k app like I wanted to! So if anyone has any Yoga tips, then please leave them in the comments!

I also realised on my last post that I totally forgot to include the changes in my measurements for you guys to check out. I don't do my measurements every week, so they might not be on every post, but when I measure, I'll make sure I put them up!

I thought I'd start by showing you how many inches I have lost since starting this diet 7 weeks ago, it's quite surprising!

Starting Measurements:
Waist: 34"
Hips: 46"
Thighs: 28"
Tummy: 43"
Bicep: 15"
Bust: 41"
Bum: 47"

Current Measurements:
Waist: 32" (-2)
Hips: 44" (-2)
Thighs: 27" (-1)
Tummy: 40.5" (-2.5)
Bicep: 14" (-1)
Bust: 39" (-2)
Bum: 46" (-1)

As you can see I have lost a whopping 11.5 inches since starting this diet! To be honest I still find it hard to see a difference in myself, but my mum and boyfriend both insist that they can see the difference. The only thing I've really noticed is that I now have to wear my belt on the final hole instead of the third one in, which is pretty cool! 

Now for the weigh in results:

Start Weight: 198.8 Ibs
Target Weight: 145 Ibs
Weight this week: 188.2 Ibs
Weight loss this week: -1.2 Ibs
Total Weight loss: 10.6 Ibs
Weight still to lose: 43.2 Ibs

To be honest I was fairly disappointed that I only managed just over 1 Ib this week, but I'm not going to let it get to me, because I know that I am now almost 1/5 of the way towards my target, which for 7 weeks work is pretty amazing. Even more so considering the amount I have set myself to lose!

Last week's goals:
  1. Drink only water Mon-Fri, and allow myself 1 non water drink on Saturday and Sunday. (50/100) I have been drinking only water on weekdays, well up until Friday when I had a cider!
  2. Stop snacking on sweeties and switch them out for fruit. (0/100) I haven't done this at all... 
  3. Log every single thing I eat on the My Fitness Pal app (50/100) I'm very good at logging my breakfast, lunch and snacks, but by the time it gets to my evening meal I seem to completely forget about logging... Must try harder!
This week's goals:
  1. Drink only water Mon-Fri, and only allow myself 1 non water drink on Saturday and Sunday
  2. Snack on fruit and nuts instead of sweets!
  3. Log every single morsel that passes my lips on the My Fitness Pall app
Seeing as I did so badly on these goals this week, I thought I should keep them for the next week also, and hopefully this time I will do MUCH better.

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Graduation: A Year Later

Friday 18 July 2014

I've seen these posts floating around the Blogisphere a lot this week, and to be honest I have been thinking back to my own graduation. The actually day was pretty boring to be honest, it involved a lot of sitting and clapping, and being hot and sweaty, and posing awkwardly for photos. 

What graduation meant to me was a different matter... It meant the end of an era, the end of my independence, and the beginning of my life as a 'proper' grown-up. On top of all that, it meant the world to my family. I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from University, so it was a very proud moment for my mum especially. She literally burst into tears as soon as she saw me in the robes.

However looking back at this, it really makes me realise how much has changed since the day this photo was taken, and I thought I would share those changes with you all.

Since graduation...

I have moved twice... Once to move back in with my mum, sister and brother, which to be honest was not an ideal situation. Then again this March to move in with my boyfriend, which was the best decision I have ever made! Considering that before I went to university, I had never moved in my entire life, I'm pretty used to moving around now, and I NEVER thought I would say that. Tim and I are only planning on renting our flat for a year before we hopefully buy our own place, so I have yet another move to look forward to, but hopefully that will be our last!

I've had three different jobs. I started working in a Debt Management company straight out of university, as my first full time job. The job was fine, my colleagues were lovely, but it really wasn't for me. Then I moved onto working in the Vodafone store as a retail advisor, I loved this job, yes it was retail so I still had to deal with annoying Customers, but I really loved the company I was working for. My colleagues were awesome, and the products I was selling were cool, and best of all I was working for a company I have trusted since I got my first mobile phone! Unfortunately I did have to leave Vodafone, as I needed a full time job to fund living away from home. I do still miss it! My current job is in an office doing telesales, and I get on with everyone there and the job is easy enough. Ultimately it isn't where I want to work for the rest of my life, but I'm saving up to do my make up course so I can become a super awesome Film and TV make up artist!

I almost died. Well I may be exaggerating a little bit, but I had a car accident, in which I flipped my car over, and it was a very scary experience. In fact I wrote about that here.

I met and fell in love with Tim. When we first met it wasn't love at first sight, but look at us now! If you'd like to learn more about our relationship you can read about it here.

I've actually managed to achieve some of my goals! Such as beginning to lose weight (which has always been a big goal of mine), and completing the Race For Life. I'm really enjoying ticking them all off, and can't wait to get more done!

Looking back a lot has happened since Graduation... I do severely miss the university lifestyle, and all of my friends, but I'm glad to be moving forward with my life now! I'm even going to be visiting Aberystwyth (where I went to Uni) for a short holiday this August with Tim. I can't wait to show him Aber, and for my friends to finally meet him! It's going to be so awesome...

Let me know in the comments if you've graduated recently, and what the best part of graduation was for you!

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Make up Revolution Haul #1

Tuesday 15 July 2014

I have a confession to make, I actually bought this make up a long while ago, and it has been sitting in my drawer for a long while, waiting to be photographed... Last week it was sunny enough for me to get the photos (finally).

As soon as I saw the Makeup Revolution lipsticks showcased on another blog, I knew I would have to snap up some of the more unusual colours, and so I did. At £1 each you really can't go wrong, and you'd be surprised how good the quality is for this price.

These are what the lipsticks look like swatched on the hand. The lovely Lilac shade is called Depraved and the Blue one underneath is called Immoral. I was worried that these might look weird on the lips, but I was pleasantly surprised, especially with the lilac one.

The next items immediately added to my basket, were a couple of the salvation velvet lip lacquers, these are what originally made me want to buy from Make up Revolution, so I treated myself and picked up two of the colours.

The top shade is a lovely rosey pink and is called 'What I Believe', this is a very wearably colour and I can see it making it's way into my everyday make up routine. The bottom shade is a vibrant red shade called, 'Keep Trying For You', and I believe that they were £3 each.

Of course I simply cannot buy make up without stocking up on yet another palette! At least I can say hand on heart that I don't have many, if any similar eye shadows to this palette. This is the Acid Brights palette and only set me back £4. A total bargain, and I cannot wait to use these colours this summer. You can bet that there will be a make up tutorial coming your way very soon!

Let me know in the comments if you've bought anything from Make Up Revolution! What would you recommend that I buy next?

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Weekly Weigh in: Week #6

Sunday 13 July 2014

Welcome everyone to a brand new feature on my blog, weekly weigh-in's! You may be wondering why the title says 'week #6' when this is my first post. Well that would be because I'm actually on my sixth week of dieting!

I am currently doing the 5:2 diet, which I wrote about a little here, but if you can't be bothered to go and read that, essentially what you do is eat 1/4 of your daily recommended calorie intake (500) for 2 days a week. Then for the other five you just eat your normal calorie limit (2000). As I'm so bad at dieting I decided to give myself 600 calories on my fast days, to ensure I get a few extra things into my meals. I also still try to eat 3 meals a day, because I know if I starve myself too much, I will fail.

You may think that this diet sounds really hard, and the first week really was, but now it has just become part of my lifestyle. There are still days when I really struggle and I don't want to do it any more, and then I get on the scales at the end of the week and I feel so much better for it!

Now onto what these posts are for... these weekly weigh-in's will simply be my motivation, I'm giving myself nothing to hide behind, and for the first time ever, I'm going to share my exact weight with the world!

Start Weight: 198.8 Ibs
Target Weight: 145 Ibs
Weight this week: 189.4 Ibs
Total Weight loss: 9.4 Ibs
Weight still to lose: 44.4 Ibs

After a few bad weeks of overeating and putting back on 2 Ibs that I had lost, I am pleased to say that I shifted it again, and even managed an extra 1 Ib weight loss! I'm only 4.6 Ibs off of my first stone, and I cannot wait to reach my target. 

My goals for this week are:
  1. Drink only water Mon-Fri, and allow myself 1 non water drink on Saturday and Sunday.
  2. Stop snacking on sweeties and switch them out for fruit.
  3. Log every single thing I eat on the My Fitness Pal app.
Considering the most weight I have ever lost on a diet was 6 Ibs, I feel like I'm doing really well, and I can't wait to hit some milestones!

Let me know in the comments if you are on a diet, and what you have lost this week...
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23 Before 23: Update #3

Saturday 12 July 2014

To be honest I have been lacking some serious creativity recently. So with that in mind I thought it was about time that I had another look over my '23 Before 23' list, and see how I am getting on!

Lose Weight:

This has been on my goals list for as long as I can remember. Even in secondary school I was carrying a little extra weight, I was pretty happy with how I was back then, just wanting to lose a few pounds. Now however my weight has gotten out of control. At university I put on 2 1/2 stone over three years! YIKES! I'm pleased to say that the number on the scales is finally moving in the right direction. I've been on a diet for a month and a half, and I'm pleased to say that despite a few shaky weeks, I have managed to lose 9.4 Ibs so far. Currently I'm wanting to lose 48.8, including what I've already lost, so I only have 39.4 Ibs to go! I'm hoping that by my birthday I will be at least half way there, if not almost done. If you're wondering how I'm losing weight, I'm planing to start posting a little more about it soon...

Complete all the Xbox Games I own!:

This one is severely important, as I am terrible at splashing out money on video games that I never complete. I'm pleased to say that I am definitely working on it. I recently completed Alice Madness Returns, which I actually bought on the day it was released! Also I've had a big clear out and traded in a lot of my games, but Tim and I have also recently bought more for the Xbox One... I'm trying OK? I am currently enjoying playing Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare on the Xbox One... It's basically Call of Duty, but with cute characters that make cute noises, that you can dress up!

My current list of games to complete goes as follows:

  1. Dead Island: Need to pick this one back up to be honest!
  2. Skyrim: This one is going to be a long term game, considering how long it take me to complete one quest, but I am still working on it.
  3. Tomb Raider (remake): Haven't even started it... and I bought the special edition of this second hand on Amazon not long after the release, this one is definitely my next venture!
  4. Dishonored: Again I haven't started this and I am ashamed because I pre-ordered this, and also forked out for the special edition!
  5. Assassin's Creed: Black Flag: 31% complete, I took a break from this when our Xbox one had a meltdown and we were waiting from our brand new one from Microsoft, that is actually what spurred me on to complete Alice. I'm loving this game, I'm very loyal to this series!
  6. Thief: Haven't even started this. Tim and I both wanted this game when we got the Xbox one and neither of us have even touched it yet, I'm playing AC, and he is playing Metal Gear Solid.
  7. Murdered: Soul Suspect: I traded in my HDPVR 2 at CEX and we had £60 of store credit to burn, and we both thought this game looked interested. Neither of us have started it, due to the same reason above.

Find Out What I want to do with my life and stick to it!:

I have finally decided what I want to do with my life, and now I am just waiting to have the funds available to implement my plan. I don't want to give too much away, but more will be coming on this soon!

Start Saving Money:

I am pleased to say that since having my full time job I have managed to save money every month! My first lot of savings has already gone towards a holiday with my friends, back in our uni town of Aberystwyth, this is happening in August! The rest of the money I am currently saving is going towards my other ventures in August (it's going to be a busy, BUSY month), including Summer in the City and my boyfriends birthday! I'm pleased to say that I only have one payment left on my car also, so that money will also be saved after next month. The only thing left to pay off is my laptop, and that is happening end of August, then I'll be free to save for the next big thing... Myself and Tim's one year anniversary!!

Do Something For Charity:

I finally did something for Charity!!! Last Sunday I completed the Race For Life, and in doing so, managed to raise £149, a whole £49 over my original target! I managed to complete the race in 45 minutes, which considering I was doing a mixture of running and walking, I was really happy with. Once I crossed the line I got a little bit emotional to be honest. I know it's silly, but I was just so proud that I finally managed to accomplish something like that...

So there you have it! I have completed another goal, and made a good start on some others! That makes 4 out of 23 completed, and 11 others have been started, this is a serious improvement on last year. Let me know in the comments how you are getting on with your yearly goals!
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Graze Box #1

Friday 11 July 2014

Everyone and their dog knows about Graze, they do super yummy and natural treats, they they post to you in a little box that fits through your letter box! I actually got my first graze box when I was in my first year of uni, it arrived and I nibbled, but I didn't really appreciate it. Now that I'm out of uni, I've grown up a little more, and my tastes have changed, I thought I would give it another go!

I'm signed up for a fortnightly box, and I think they cost £3.99 a time, but don't quote me on that! I was lucky enough that I had a code to get my first box for FREE, and who can resist something that's free? I also get my 5th and 10th box for free, so they continue to reward you the longer you stay!

This is what my box looked like when I first opened it! You get four snacks, so it works out at about £1 per snack, and they are all individually packaged in little plastic containers, so that you can pull them out and just pop them into your bag for a handy snack! They even send you a little booklet with all the nutritional information, so you can see exactly what you are eating.

Here's what I received in my first Graze Box from top left to bottom right:

  • Cherry Fudge Sundae: a mix of chocolate fudge, blanched almonds, cherry infused raisins and cherries. This little box contained 181 calories! It was super yummy, the cherries were slightly sour and made a nice contrast to the sweet fudge.
  • Smokey Hot Dog: a mix of sweet mustard breadsticks, smoked cashews and cheese croutons. I am not a great fan of mustard, but these were tasty when mixed together, and with only 124 calories in this little box, I don't have to feel guilty about eating the lot!
  • Summer Berry Flapjack: a rustic rolled oat flapjack with berry-infused cranberries. This was probably my favourite thing in this box, it wasn't too dry, and there was the perfect amount of berries to break up the oatey flapjacky-ness. This one had the highest calories at 230, but still pretty good!
  • Rhubarb and Pear Compote: a mix of rhubarb, pear and cranberries. This was probably my least favourite, I think it was because I'm not a fan of rhubarb, but the cranberries and pear were still yummy! This little box cam in at 111 Calories!
Overall I was very pleased with my first Graze box, my boyfriend even had a little look at what I had got. He's not a fan of any kind of dried fruit (a.k.a fussy) so I doubt he'll be eating much of the stuff that comes in them, meaning that they are all mine!! MUAHAHAHAAHHAHA *cough*

You may be thinking to yourself, 'what if I don't like a particular ingredient?', well worry not, as Graze have made it as easy as possible to make sure that you get what you want! You simply go onto the website and you can rate their snacks, you can even remove whole categories based on your dietery requirements. The good thing about this is that if you get a snack that you didn't particularly enjoy, then you can simply 'bin it' and you won't receive it again. This also works in the opposite way. So if you find a snack that you really enjoyed, then you can like it, and then will send it to you every so often! Yoou can browse ALL of their snacks, and if you come across something you are dying to try, hit the 'send soon' button, and it will be in your next box as long as it is available. The service is so easy to use, and encourages you to share what you like, or dislike.

If you want to get your first, fifth and tenth Graze box for free, then sign up with the code: ALYSSI9NP, and enjoy!

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Wishlist Wednesday: Nerdy T-shirt Edition!

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Hello everyone! I hope you have all been well, I am still trying to figure out my blogging/Youtube schedule and how it's going to fit in with my life so bare with me and I will get there eventually...

Recently I have seen some pretty awesome t-shirts that I am wanting SO badly, but with saving up for my (several) adventures in August, I currently really just don't have the money to spend on buying them. I will though, eventually...

1: My Little Dalek T-shirt: We all know how much I love my little pony, and Doctor who, and this crossover couldn't be more perfect. I actually squealed when I saw this t-shirt design for the first time!
2: Fox Assassin Shirt: Foxes are cute, assassin's are awesome, therefore a fox assassins is super awesome cute and deadly... Seriously don't mess with him!
3: The Burton that waited: This shirt is another amazing crossover, this happened to pop up on my Facebook feed ages ago, and trust me when I say I HAVE to have this shirt...
4: Let it Gogh: I am obsessed with Frozen, and this shirt just screams nerd to me... I must have it.
5: Nook Neighbours Club: I'm not ashamed to admit that I play Animal Crossing, I got obsessed with it on the DS, and now I own New Leaf on the 3DS. I don't play it as often as I would like, but it still holds a place in my gaming heart, this shirt is the perfect way to showcase that!
6: Doctor Pony: This shirt is all kinds of perfect sadness, and it's beautifully designed...
7: Tim Burton Pop Culture: My favourite director's masterpieces on an artsy shirt? YES PLEASE!
8: Dalek Assassin: We've already established that I love Doctor Who, and Assassin's creed is probably my favourite game series of all time, so this shirt therefore is a must!
9: Frozen Ponies: Elsa and Anna as ponies, and Olaf as a baby dragon! I literally cannot handle the feels...
10: Don't Blink Tim: Is it just me, or do the angels look even creepier in a Tim Burton Style *shudders*
11: Shaun vs Zombies: I've been playing a lot of Plant's vs. Zombies Garden Warfare recently, and when I stumbled across this shirt I thought it was too perfect to not include in this list!
12: Fluttershy: My favourite My Little Pony character looking super sweet... How could I resist?

So there we have it! My must have nerdy shirt list... Although considering it's going to cost me about £150 for all of these, I may have to collect them over a period of time. God knows how I'll pick which one to buy first.

Let me know in the comments which your favourite design is, and which I should buy first.
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