Thursday, January 22, 2015

Which Tea?

I LOVE tea, but I only drink the worst kind – strong black breakfast tea; higher in caffeine than the rest, lower in antioxidants, extra-processed, tooth-staining… and that’s before I add the demon sugar in.  So my tea didn’t make the cut for this list of how to treat different conditions with tea.

Tea

Good to know, anyway.  I’m still not convinced than drinking ginger tea would make me feel less nauseous though.  Ugh.

Image via Pinterest

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How I Contour

There are a gazillion face contouring guides and videos on the web.  Most of the ones I’ve seen have been overly detailed, and off-putting.  I don’t want to complicate things further.  For me, contouring is not an every day thing, but I love the effect for nights-out.  What I do is very simple – it’s this:

Contouring

…and blend (of course).  That’s it!

My holy grail contouring product is Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate palette, but it is pricy.  You can get the same general effect using your favourite bronzer and a liquid concealer in a shade lighter than your skin colour/ foundation.  

Photo via Danish Streets

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Celebrity Do-gooders

emma stone1emma stone2emma stone3

As if I needed another reason to love Emma Stone…

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quick Quiz

Chris Rock child eaten by a camel

It’s the most depressing day of the year, apparently, but this might make you smile.  Happy (Blue) Monday peeps.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Emoji Ink

little t

Now you can draw with Emoji!  I got inexplicably excited about this…

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Table Tents

Table tents

This is the stuff of my childhood dreams.  Available here on Etsy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Best Hot Chocolate You’ll Ever Taste

Maybe.  In fact, that is very obnoxious of me to suggest – and probably not even true.  If you’ve ever been (or will be) to O’Conaill’s Chocolate Shop on French Church Street in Cork, Ireland, then it is most certainly not true.  Their signature hot chocolate is better than mine.  I guess that goes without saying.

hot chocolate

Allow me to start again.  This is a very decent hot chocolate recipe, that I came up with myself and that you will definitely not hate.  There!  The recipe was actually intended as a recreation of the O’Conaill’s one I was craving in the run up to Christmas, while I was still in Abu Dhabi and thousands of miles away from that kind of perfection. 

Here’s the recipe.  It’s for those of you who, like me, think of hot chocolate as more dessert than drink… though I’m sure you could lower the chocolate: milk ratio and that would work too.

Hot Chocolate (makes 2 standard sized mugs)

What you’ll need:

Semi-skimmed milk (Use the mugs to measure – 2 almost-full mugs)

35-40g good quality dark chocolate (70%+)

35-40g good quality white chocolate

35 –40g Lindt Excellence Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate (this exact one)

A good pinch of Maldon salt

Here’s how:

  • Cut the chocolate into smallish chunks
  • Warm the milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat. As the milk starts to heats up, add the chocolate and start whisking until all the chocolate is melted.  Don’t allow the milk to boil – you want lots of steam but no bubbles. 
  • Add the salt and whisk one last time before pouring into the mugs to serve
  • Jamie Oliver has this trick for hot chocolate that I sometimes do, but sometimes don’t bother with.  Right before serving, you pour the mixture into a large flask, ensuring there is lots of space at the top.  Screw on the lid and shake it (like you would with a cocktail shaker) for a couple of minutes.  This makes the milk nice and frothy.  Include that step too, if you’re really trying to impress. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Balloon Ice

Here’s a fun party trick.

Balloon ice

Water balloons, filled and frozen, will create perfectly formed ice-balls that won’t dilute your favourite Scotch.  No fancy schmancy cocktail equipment necessary.

via Saveur

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Amazing Un-stealable Bicycle

 Unstealable bicycle

Clever, clever students at the Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (Chile) have designed this: the world’s first un-stealable bike.  It converts into its own lock, meaning that if the lock is broken, the bike is rendered useless to the thief!  Clever, clever, clever.  Beautiful design too.

Read more about The Yerka Project here.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Best IKEA Hack

This past Christmas was extra special for our family as it was the first one with little Sophia.  I was excited to make it home to see her again after five long months – she had doubled her age in that time!  It all happens too fast.  One of the nice things about having a baby around at Christmastime is that children’s gifts are always the most fun.  Sophia got Lego from Santa Claus, lots of musical instruments (drums are her favourite) and even a baby-sized Mini Cooper from her Uncle Richie.

If I had seen this IKEA hack before Christmas, I’d like to think I could have made it happen and delivered the best present of all.

IKEA hack1

How awesome?  Have a look at the before. 

IKEA hack2

IKEA hack3

I love the little details, like the subway tiles and chic lighting. 

IKEA hack4

IKEA Hack5

IKEA hack6

Fiona, we have to attempt this sometime in the next year.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

6 Beautiful Nail Colours

little t

Top (L to R): Essie in ‘Cocktail Bling’; Bobbi Brown in ‘Pink Cloud’; Nars in ‘Chinatown’

Bottom (L to R): Nars in ‘Thakoon’; Essie in ‘Bobbing for Baubles’; Chanel Le Vernis in ‘Skyline’

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January Treats

salted chocolate clementines

Life got a little tastier since I started dipping clementine wedges in melted dark chocolate, sprinkling them with sea salt and putting them in the fridge for a few hours.  The simplest treat – that is pretty much guilt-free (especially when you compare it to my December diet).  These babies are delicious.

Originally spotted on Express-o – thank you Diana!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sales Shopping

I almost never find anything in the sales when I’m on the lookout, but this year, when I was trying not to shop the sales, I stumbled upon this gem in Warehouse at 70% off. 

warehouse jumpsuit

I think these photos don’t even do it justice – the length and shape make it a classy look but the lacy bodice top almost has a lingerie feel.  So. very. sexy.

It’s the most beautiful item in my wardrobe and still on sale, here.  A steal.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

If Our Bodies Could Talk

When Joanna (from A Cup of Jo) revealed Dr. James Hamblin as her latest celebrity crush, I was a little confused.  I usually agree with her on just about any topic imaginable, but this confession had me like whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  At first glance, he looks like a skinny socially-awkward adolescent.  After watching a couple of his videos, it not only confirmed my first impressions but also showed how he has managed to make a lucrative career out of that persona.  Kudos to him, but surely this doesn’t grant him eligibility as an object of our affection?  I happen to know that Joanna shares my fondness of facial hair and this fellow looks like he has never had reason to shave in his life.  There’s also the fact that he isn’t exactly a celebrity;  I mean, Joanna herself is arguably more well-known. Shouldn’t your celebrity crush be more famous that you?  Isn’t that the point? I didn’t get it. 

If our bodies could talk

Admittedly though, his video series If Our Bodies Could Talk is very, ve-ry entertaining.  I will warn you now that I binged watched the entire series, although if it should happen to you it won’t affect your life in the same way as say, Breaking Bad, given each video is only about 5 minutes duration.  Watch them… or my favourites at least:

tabless thursday

Tabless Thursday is a concept I have successfully introduced into my life.  Single tasking is the new multitasking.  I’m all about it.

things not to say to a pregnant woman

Things not to say to a pregnant woman.  This made me laugh out loud.  I didn’t say LOL because that doesn’t explain how I was actually laughing at my computer screen.  I was, for reals.

napping at work

The case for napping at work.  Do you love him yet?

sad desk lunch

A take on the sad desk lunch

skipping breakfast

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?  Maybe, as outrageous as it sounds, breakfast is…just another meal.   It is weird how preachy people get about not skipping breakfast!

After the sixth or so video, you might begin to find Dr. James strangely endearing, although I can’t put my finger on why exactly.  Us ladies are complicated creatures.  I’m not saying I’m on that bandwagon completely, but I get it.  I get it now.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Advice

I’m hesitant about posting on the topic of life advice, particularly at this time of year when every blogger is publishing their resolutions for the shiny new year.  You don’t need my two cents.  You can assume (correctly) that I have similar list of predictable intentions.  Anyway, this isn’t that kind of advice. 

This article, with excerpts from a “Dear Sugar”  column by Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) , was one of those thoughtful pieces that I read, read again and then decided that it might be just the kind of soul-soothing guidance that your January self needs.

Here are my favourite bits:

 

On how to treat your parents…

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her sceptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.  Say thank you.

On love

I recalled a time fifteen years ago, when I was sitting in a cafĂ© with Mr. Sugar. We’d only been lovers for a month, but we were already in deep, thick in the thrall of the you-tell-me-everything-and-I’ll-tell-you-everything-because-I-love-you-so-madly stage, and on this particular afternoon I was telling him the harrowing tale of how I’d gotten pregnant by a heroin addict the year before and how I’d felt so angry and sad and self-destructive over having an abortion that I’d intentionally sliced a shallow line in my arm with a knife, even though I’d never done that before. When I got to the part about cutting myself, Mr. Sugar stopped me. He said, ‘Don’t get me wrong. I want to hear everything about your life. But I want you to know that you don’t need to tell me this to get me to love you. You don’t have to be broken for me.

On being a (female) writer…

How many women wrote beautiful novels and stories and poems and essays and plays and scripts and songs in spite of all the crap they endured. How many of them didn’t collapse in a heap of 'I could have been better than this' and instead went right ahead and became better than anyone would have predicted or allowed them to be. The unifying theme is resilience and faith. The unifying theme is being a warrior and a motherfucker. It is not fragility. It’s strength. It’s nerve. And 'if your Nerve, deny you –,' as Emily Dickinson wrote, 'go above your Nerve.' Writing is hard for every last one of us — straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.

On becoming stronger with change…

Real change happens on the level of the gesture. It’s one person doing one thing differently than he or she did before. It’s the man who opts not to invite his abusive mother to his wedding; the woman who decides to spend her Saturday mornings in a drawing class instead of scrubbing the toilets at home; the writer who won’t allow himself to be devoured by his envy; the parent who takes a deep breath instead of throwing a plate. It’s you and me standing naked before our lovers, even if it makes us feel kind of squirmy in a bad way when we do. The work is there. It’s our task. Doing it will give us strength and clarity. It will bring us closer to who we hope to be.