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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Getting older

This week I will turn thirty.  Thirty. I know.  To anyone under thirty, it sounds scary doesn't it?

A few months ago, someone started mentioning my birthday and asking me what I might like.  I hadn't given it any thought as at that point, in my head, my birthday was still months away. Suddenly, I became acutely aware of my impending birthday and it's fair to say that I began to freak out; the more I thought about my upcoming birthday, the more I wished that it wasn't happening. This is particularly unusual as I have always loved birthdays; a great day each year when you get to celebrate with loved ones and friends, doing your favourite things. What's not to like?!

I started to panic that I hadn't achieved a lot of the things that I had hoped to do by this age; relationships, marriage, children, houses, travel etc.  Milestones that, in all honesty, I had set for myself, in my own head. Okay, there may be certain societal expectations but who really dictates these? Who actually checks to see whether you've achieved these? It's scary to realise that the only person responsible for these feelings of insignificance or disappointment is actually oneself. Societal expectations and social norms are constantly evolving; how many articles have you seen recently talking about the impossibility of buying houses/people living at home/ people living together without being married etc?

We often read about the detrimental effects of social media and I think it's true that it's easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Frequently, we update photos, statuses and posts and inadvertently bombard ourselves with updates of other people's lives: where they have travelled, who has got engaged/married, who has children, who has bought a house.  It doesn't take much for a unconfident person to start wondering why those things aren't happening for them. I felt like I had wasted my twenties; wasted time in the wrong relationships, working in the wrong places, living with the wrong people.  This delightfully pessimistic attitude led me to foolishly overlook all the fantastic people I have met, wonderful places I have travelled to, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and numerous achievements I've had in my twenties. Furthermore, I'm ashamed to admit that this feeling consumed me for a number of weeks, until a number of things dawned on me.

Firstly, that it is extremely pointless to get hung up on age.  It sounds so simple, but age is something which is completely beyond our control. Everyone ages, no-one can avoid it or prevent it from happening, no matter how hard they try! Secondly, some people think I look younger than I am, so maybe (hopefully) I could ride out on at least appearing youthful for a few more years! 'Age is just a number' and all that. It struck me that when I wake up on Friday, I will feel the same way, look the same way and act the same way, so is a new number really all that bad??!

Lastly and most importantly, I started to really consider and value where I am in my life now; the incredible experiences and opportunities that I've had and the hard-hitting lessons that I've learnt along the way. I've been extremely fortunate in a lot of ways but I also remember the tougher times.  Unfortunately, a few of my friends didn't make it to their early twenties so I really should be thankful to still be here at all.

No-one has a perfect life and when you start to see the bigger picture and think about all the dreadful and unfortunate things that are happening to people all over the world every single day, you begin to realise that you actually shouldn't worry or complain about turning older.  It seems to me that most of us are pretty lucky. At the risk of sounding preachy, I think it's important to recognise how fortunate we really are to be alive.  So after a seemingly trivial mini-meltdown about the state of my life at this age, I came to realise that I have my health, family and friends, a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my back and a great job. To be quite truthful, I am privileged to be here, and every day (including the dreaded birthdays) that I spend on earth is more than some people get. When you take a step back and think about age that way, it's not worth complaining any more.  But we will, because we're only human after all...

I recently discovered this quote pinned on a noticeboard at work:

'If you woke up this morning healthy ... you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the fear and loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pain of starvation ... you are better off than 500 million people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are more comfortable than 75% of the people in this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.'

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas Recipes: Roly Poly Mince Pies

I made two different versions of mince pies.  This recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food 'Christmas Made Easy' book. They taste the same as the usual mince pies but look a bit different!  Personally, I'm not a mince pie fan but they went down well with our visitors and were extremely easy to make :)

Makes 12 rounds

50g/2oz golden caster sugar
375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
411g jar traditional mincemeat
1 tbsp milk
25g/1oz flaked almonds


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees/fan oven 180 degrees/ Gas 6
2. Scatter the sugar over the worktop, unroll the pastry and put it on top of the sugar.
3. Roll out the pastry so it's a quarter bigger but still rectangular.
4. Spoon and spread the mincemeat evenly over the pastry leaving a 2cm border along the longest edges.

5. Fold over one of the longest edges over the mincemeat and then roll the pastry tightly into a sausage shape.
6. When you get to the other edge, brush the edges with milk and press down to seal in the mincemeat.
7. Press both ends in gently to plump up and chill the roll for at least 30 mins.
8. Cut the roll into 12 rounds, about 3cm thick.
9. Lay them evenly spaced on a baking tray and flatten them with your hands so they look like squashed Chelsea buns.

10. Scatter the flaked almonds on top and bake for 20-30 mins until golden brown.
11 .Leave them to cool for 5 minutes and keep them separate so they don't stick together!

Hope you like them!
 
Peebreeks xx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Recipes: Winter Vegetable Bake

So I arrived back home in Somerset on Saturday to discover that my mum and dad were both still unwell and were starting to worry that we wouldn't be ready for Christmas Day. I asked Mum for a list of what to make and the recipes so that I could crack on!

The dish for the vegetarians this year was a Winter Vegetable Bake with crumble topping.  I actually adapted three different recipes which I took from the December edition of 'BBC Vegetarian Christmas' magazine and the BBC Good Food 'Christmas Made Easy' recipe book.
Hope you like it!

You will need:
2kg/4lb mixed root vegetables (I used sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips)
300ml/1/2pt full-fat milk
85g butter
Black pepper and sage to taste

 For the topping:
50g/2oz butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
50g/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs (from about 4 slices bread)
25g/ 1 oz vegetarian-style Parmesan
3 tblsp pine nuts
a small handful of fresh thyme leaves.

1. Peel and dice all the vegetables.




2. Place vegetables in a large pan of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25mins until veg. are soft enough to mash.

 
3. Drain the vegetables ,then add the milk and butter to the dry pan and heat until the butter has melted.
4. Tip the veg back into the pan, season with cracked black pepper and sage and mash over a low heat.

5. Remove from the heat and spoon into an ovenproof dish.
6.For the topping: Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion for 5-6 minutes, until golden. 
7. Mix in the breadcrumbs and stir to brown and crisp a little.
8. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Take the pan off the heat and spoon mixture on top of the mashed vegetable mix.
10. Sprinkle on the  pine nuts.
 

11. Bake for 25-30 mins (longer if from chilled)  at 190 degrees, 170 degrees if fan oven or Gas mark 5 until golden and crisp on top.
12. Add a handful of thyme leaves on top before serving.
 
The end result was very tasty and a hit with all the vegetarians! What vegetarian recipes can you recommend for Christmas time??
 
Peebreeks xx

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Things I love Thursday! #14 (previously Smiling Sunday)


December already, eek! Welcome to my new followers, thanks for following my blog :)
Most blogs seem to call these posts Things I love Thursday, which would free up my Sunday so here goes...

Navy and mustard. These colours have been on the high street for Autumn/Winter this year and I love the combination. All the images below are via Pinterest.





This dreamy bed space lit by fairy lights.
Via Pinterest


This series of 'selfies' with the Northern Lights featured in The Guardian.
Via The Guardian Travel
This cute photo of dogs who are slightly different sizes.  I love the fact they don't care and have obviously been playing in the mud together! I actually sent this to a friend of mine as we are great friends and I am 6ft 1 and she's 5ft.  Friends come in all sizes. :)

Via Pinterest

This adorable deer jumper dress
Via Sugar Hill Boutique
These yummy-looking biscuit cushions :) I'd go for the custard cream or the party ring.
Via Lisa Angel Homeware
One of my favourite vegetables at this time of year is the lovely parsnip.  I like the look of this Jamie Oliver recipe for spicy soup, I reckon that a warming soup would be great for these chilly evenings!
Via www.jamieoliver.com
These 1960's kitsch Christmas decorations, lovely!
Via North London Vintage Market
This sweet little Nordic Advent Village, you can fill the houses with sweets or little treats!
Via The Little Picture Company


Hope you're having a lovely December.  What's making you smile this week?  Let me know in the comments!
 Peebreeks xx

Monday, 10 November 2014

Smiling Monday! #13


Here's what I've been loving this week.  I've been really ill with a virus so not much from out and about, sorry!


1. Modalu Pippa Stars Mix Handbag. How gorgeous is this? Saw it in a magazine ad this week, lovely winter bag.
Via Modalu




2. These yummy Converse Doughnuts High-tops!
Via Schuh
3. This thick knit mustard snood from Zara.  I've tried this on so many times in the shop, it's super cosy!!
Via Zara
         

4. Baby deer decoration from Paperchase. Sooo cute, is it too early for decoration shopping??
Via Paperchase

5.Where's Wally wrapping paper: spotted this in a bookshop in Hove.  How fun, I would definitely want to keep the paper after ripping it off though!
Via Ebay

6.Satsuma Gelly Nail Effect nails by Barry M. I'm obsessed with different shades of orange at the moment, what with it being Autumn here and all that...

7. This micro-piglet, too cute!!


8. Awesome scary doll make-up tutorial  by Lex on  Made yew look. She is a really talented make-up artist.


9. Have been watching Lynn Hirschberg's series of Screen Test interviews with famous Hollywood actors and actresses for W Magazine and the New York Times (on Youtube). I like the way that they are shot in black and white, so you can focus on the content of the interview.  I also like the fact you don't really hear the interviewer, so you can concentrate purely on the answers that the actors give.
(All videos below are taken from W Magazine)





             



What have you been loving this week?
Peebreeks xx

Friday, 17 October 2014

French/Spanish/ Holiday Pharmacy Buys!

This post should have gone up wayyy back in the summer, but maybe better late than never?

I went on holiday to Spain and France this summer and picked up some fantastic bargains in the pharmacies while I was there.


Whilst in Barcelona, I bought the Capital Soleil After Sun (100ml) by Vichy for the bargain price of 4 euros (that works out at just over £3). My friend Elise let me use hers when I went to visit and I loved it and had to buy some to bring back!

I have been using it constantly ever since to try and keep my tan for a while,
I also love how it makes my skin so smooth. And the smell! It smells amazing; summery, creamy and slightly coconutty (is that even a word?) The formulation is light and sinks into the skin easily.

It's Paraben-free, hypoallergenic, non-greasy and non-sticky so is sure to please pretty much everyone.

Much to my dismay, I've nearly run out of this now since purchasing it in August and can't seem to buy it easily or affordably in the UK.



Now I couldn't go to Europe and resist getting a bottle of Bioderma could I?!
By far the best gentle make-up remover I've ever used. I was intrigued by this bottle as it's suitable for pushing a cotton pad onto instead of spilling out of the usual bottle caps. I bought the 500ml bottle for 15,95 euros (£12.65).
I went to a little pharmacy and stumbled across some lovely La Roche Posay products.  
I was especially pleased to discover one product came with some free gifts, so I bought the Hydreane Riche Moisturiser for Sensitive skin (40ml) and got a free Toleriane cleanser (50ml) and Lipikar body moisturiser (15ml), I got all these for 14,95 euros (£11.85).


I've currently only used the Hydreane Riche moisturiser which I really like, it moisturises my skin well without feeling greasy.  I use it occasionally when I feel that my skin needs an extra hit of moisture.

  As the name suggests, it's extremely rich and personally, I wouldn't use it for my everyday moisturiser. Since purchasing this, I've discovered that they make a Hydreane Legere which is a lighter formulation and probably more suitable for everyday wear.










Check out my French/ Spanish Pharmacy Faves 2014 video!

Which foreign pharmacy products do you buy when you're away?  Any recommendations?
Peebreeks xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Style: Brigitte Bardot



So yet another classic style icon has had a birthday recently, the French model, actress, singer and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot.  Known globally as a sultry French sex kitten, her style is constantly imitated in the fashion world; most remarkably by supermodels such as Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer.  Famed for her dark winged liner, blonde beehive, stripy Breton tops and her curvaceous figure. Unapologetically sexy and undone.
Photographed by Raymond Depardon, via Le Luxe Mannequin
Via Becky Rox
Her gappy teeth undoubtedly led the way for similar models today, such as Georgia Jagger and Lara Stone.
Via FanPop

Via Pinterest
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Brigitte definitely inspired some of the 90's/00's shoots with Kate Moss.
Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest
Paving the way for the tartan scarves trend...
Via Pinterest
Looking spookily like Claudia Schiffer in the 90's... or should that be the other way around?
Via Pinterest
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Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest
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Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest
 A blonde vegetarian with messy hair and sixties style,  what's not for me to like?!

Happy 80th Birthday Brigitte!

Peebreeks xx