Saturday, 31 October 2015

Double, double, toil and trouble

Happy Halloween! The day has finally come where it's acceptable to go out in your pjs, with bed hair and no make-up and not a single soul can judge you. Not that I'll be doing that though, just because they can't judge doesn't mean you won't get some funny looks! Instead I'm spending the day cleaning and tidying whilst Jay's at work, then we're heading out for a ghost tour of York- relevant I know

With Halloween comes the fun of dressing up as your alter ego and carving pumpkins, so why not dedicate a post to just that! I'm such a big kid at heart, so I take pumpkin carving very seriously. In hindsight we probably should have bought one of those over-priced pumpkin carving kits for the fiddly bits, but our ice-cream scoop and knives worked out just fine in the end. As we had three to carve, yes three, we took a pumpkin each and shared the last one. They all ended up with three different faces, but they look great next to each other. And if you're wondering, a white pumpkin is white inside but a blue pumpkin is orange and very hard to carve!

Our first Halloween event was really last night as Red Goat Climbing Wall hosted a Halloween climbing competition. I didn't climb, too much of a pansy at the moment with heights, but I did however dedicate Friday to making a budget Halloween costume. This had to be something that meant Jay could still move and climb in whilst looking spectacular. What did we opt for? A spider. I had already created this look 2 years ago, I;ll treat you to the throwback don below, so I thought it would be relatively easy to recreate. All you need is two pairs of tights + one for your legs, some fair wings, black fabric/ bin liner, old magazines/ newspapers, tape, scissors and sewing kit. Put it together and what have you got, bibbidy, bobbidy, boo. I have to say it worked out pretty damn well and he received second prize for it, result! {I bought a cat mask and tail and went for the simple but effective look}. 

I hope everyone has a spooky day and night and eats lots of Halloween treats. I'll be off getting spooked out in the dark and planning what to make with my pumpkins after today. P.S. Here's the throwback I promised you.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Top 5 Autumn Activities

October is running away with us, but looking back I have experienced some perfect Autumn activities that can be enjoyed by all! So grab a hot beverage and a notebook to jot down some ideas for your next Autumn adventure. 

1. Visit a pumpkin patch
This one has to be number one. I know you're probably thinking that it's just a field of pumpkins, what's so special about that? But it's so much more than a field of pumpkins. To begin with, it normally combines a visit to a great farm with an inviting farm shop, they are the best at this time of year! It also gives you a sense of satisfaction when you find that pumpkin, you know it's the one. These type of events are cropping up all over the country now, and you don't need to be under 12 to enjoy them- especially when there's different coloured pumpkins to choose from. 

2. Go for a country walk
There is no better feeling than breathing in fresh country air whilst the crisp wind brushes your cheeks. Sounds a bit like the start to a novel, but it's true. With the countryside of Yorkshire on our doorstep, well a fifteen minute drive out of the city, we have managed to escape to some wonderful corners of the county and find picturesque views and tranquil walks. If you haven't already ventured out then Google something along the lines of 'good walks in *insert area*', put your wellies and waterproof on and head on out, I can promise you you won't regret it. {If you can find somewhere with a cute town nearby then that's an even better reason}

3. Garden Centers
Yes, I'm only 21 but going to a garden center on a Sunday afternoon was always a family tradition, and they are especially good at this time of year. Paired with a nice walk, they are great to wander round and pick out some local chutney and farm food. They also have some inspiring Christmas displays, and will definitely get you in the festive spirit. 

4. Bake some goodies
Heating is starting to be turned on, and curtains are being drawn earlier which gives your more time to flick through recipe books to find some tasty things to bake. In summer we avoid putting the oven on, but now it's colder and we're layering up, cake and a cup of tea has never sounded so good. 

5. Wander round your town / city
This time of year is when everyone seems to be friendlier and jollier. It may be cold and miserable, but the Autumn feeling brings some eye-catching window displays and happy shoppers. York has definitely embraced the Halloween spirit too, and your spoilt for choice when it comes to spooky goings on. Take some time out to simply just browse and take in your surroundings, you'll appreciate the little things around you and you can always squeeze in a cake pit stop. 

Hope this has given you some October inspiration!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Little Things #7

Been a while since I last did one of these posts, but that just means you'll get double the content in this one! This month is creeping away from us, which means Halloween is just round the corner and I have no idea what we're doing for it, but if you check back next week I might have thought of something spontaneously scary to celebrate this American tradition. In the mean time, here's what I've been loving this past fortnight. 

1. I invested in a new lipstick, Rimmel 128: Starry-eyed if any of you were wondering, to complete my Autumn wardrobe. 

2. In the past two weeks I have become a Sherlock Holmes obsess-er, and am now up to date with the rest of the world eagerly waiting the arrival of the new series. 

3. We added a new pumpkin to our collection, a little white one to join her brothers ready to be carved. {If you're lacking inspiration Country Living posted a great article to spice up your creativity}

4. Big News: we have decided on our color theme for our Christmas tree. A very important decision which has come after many visits to garden centers

5. We have been for some lovely walks in the great outdoors which has meant crunching crispy leaves and feeling the brisk October air on your face- what could be better!

6. Disney have announced they are bringing out their own style of Netflix and I am over the moon. 

7. I treated myself to some seasonal Lush bits and am super excited to shut myself away in the bathroom for hours. You can see what I got here

8. Yeo Valley have a limited edition Spiced Apple and Quince Yogurt out and it tastes like Autumn and Christmas rolled into one. 

9. If you haven't already checked it out Pretty Little Liars has released their winter premiere and I cannot wait 

10. My Mumma and Papa are visiting for a few days which means I get to spend some quality family time with them. They also came armed with roses and the rest of my stuff that wouldn't fit in the car

Hope you all have a spooky filled week with lots of Halloween-ness involved!


Sunday, 25 October 2015

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting

 Before I begin I want to say no judging allowed! There is no such thing as a perfect circle, or not when it comes to this bake anyways. I've never baked a carrot cake before and fancied a challenge, so what better way to spend my Saturday afternoon.
For the cake you will need:
- 4 eggs
- 225g butter
- 225g soft brown sugar
- 175g of plain flour
- 350g carrots (peeled and grated)
- Grated zest of 1/2 an orange
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 100g walnuts (chopped)
- 50g of ground almonds
- 2 tsp of baking powder
{I didn't use the walnuts or almonds due to not having them in my kitchen cupboards, so you can adjust to your taste preferences / cupboard stock}

For the icing you will need:
- 100g of softened butter
- 275g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp of milk{Note to self: Make sure you have enough icing sugar in the flat before you begin}
1. Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line your baking tin(s) with parchment. 
2. Separate your eggs, not as easy as it sounds, and and beat the egg whites until they are stiff.
3. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until it's light and creamy- a very satisfying job.
4. Then beat in the egg yolks, orange zest and lemon juice followed by the dry ingredients.
5. Fold in the carrots and then fold in the beaten egg. (If you're not sure what I mean by folding then YouTube has some great tutorials)
6. Spoon into the baking tin(s) and bake in the oven for 1 hour ish. Our recipe said 1 and a half hours but it was ready after 60 beautifully-smelling minutes.
7. Once the time is up, take it out of the oven and leave to cool before icing!
8. Enjoy with a cup of tea, your feet up and your favourite movie on the TV.

Check back soon for the next #cookingwithBeth installment. 


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Autumn Lush Haul

Before I begin let me just apologise for my absence over the last week, I've been super busy and had to put my blog aside for seven days, but have no fear I'm back with lots of posts lined up for you! Now, I love baths. I know to some people they are a bit like Marmite, you love a bath or you hate a bath, but I can't get enough of them, literally. I'm definitely one of those people who will spend hours in a tub of hot, bubbly water with Netflix balanced on the laptop on the toilet and come out looking like a shriveled prune, hot I know. With this in mind, I was walking past Lush the other day and saw it as a perfect excuse to treat myself to some luxurious bath time. 

If you're like me, you'll be someone who just stares at everything for about 5 minutes. There is so much to take in and you're always so spoilt for choice. I'm always particularly drawn to their vast collection of bath bombs, I mean who doesn't want to have a bath that represents the snowy scenes of Arendelle, filling your waters with glitter, or so I've heard. Yes, the Frozen bath bomb is on my next wish list, but for now I went for some slightly more seasonal products to make the October evenings feel even more autumnal. 

 1. Cinders | £2.95
My first pick was this ball filled with cinnamon scents and the sounds of crunching leaves and open fires. I know you can't actually put a sound into a bath bomb, but the popping candy bears a close resemblance. I know this one is going to be perfect after a long day when there's a chill in the air and my bath is accompanied by a hot chocolate and a feel-good movie. {Disclaimer: My decision to purchase this may or may not have been because the name reminded me of Cinderella}

2. Sparkly Pumpkin | £3.65
I am currently obsessed with everything pumpkin and everything glittery, my spiced pumpkin candle is infact burning away right now, so how could I not add this beauty to my basket. It looks so good that part of me just wants to leave it on display, but I know I will be using this one close to Halloween to get me in the spooky mood. It smells like a spicy citrus punch, and I can't wait to fill my tub with shimmery orange water. {Quote from Jason: "Why did you cover an orange in glitter?" Really Jason?}

3. The Magic of Christmas | £5.95
Okay, so I'm well aware that this is from their festive collection, but I just couldn't say no. As it's a bubble bar it means you get more than one use out of it and if this lives up to my expectations then I will be super happy that I can use it again and again. The cinnamon and almond smell reminds me of the roasted chestnut stands and the fact that it will turn my bath orange makes it slightly autumnal, right? {It also reminded me of a wand, yes, I have found my inner Cinderella in all of these products}  

I can't wait to use all these products as they give me a perfect excuse to escape to the bathroom for an hour, or two!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Autumn: five favourite Instagram accounts

I love Instagram. Like, I think it is safe to say I am obsessed with it. I'm a sucker for photos, and can spend hours scrolling through feeds, being careful to not be that weirdo who likes a photo from months ago because I've ended up scrolling through someone's account and ended up in 2012. I know there's the ongoing debate of the augmented reality Instagram shows but I find it's a great platform to find inspiration, grab some style steals and relax into a dream world. Below are just a few accounts that I'm loving right now. 

1. @fellowmag
Every time a new post crops up from this account it makes me want to just pack up and move across the pond to the wilderness in America. I could be living in a cabin house in the middle of the woods, surrounded by moose and mountains, wearing plaid shirts and boots on a daily basis. 

2. @amberfillerup
If you love everything from braids to bubbas then this is the perfect blog for you. Each photo fills me with a #familygoals feeling and makes me want to dive into each adventure they go on. 

3. @katymitten
Katy's posts bring such a fresh feeling to my news feed. Her simplistic but styled photos flow elegantly from post to post. If your a cat lover and cacti enthusiast then this Instagrammer is for you!

4. @bonaturlig
I am a sucker, and I mean sucker for interior designs. I could sit on Pinterest all day and pin home inspiration posts, which I think is why I adore this IG so much. Her posts are so Pinterest worthy and make me want to become an instant home owner so I can have beautiful spaces. 

5. @bbcgoodfood
Now this wouldn't be a post without some kind of mention of food now would it? I'm really enjoying experimenting with recipes at the moment and this feed works wonders for giving me new ideas for meal times and treats. 

If you want to check out any of these feeds then their links are in the tags. Who are your favourite IG's at the moment?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Little Things #6

My last weekly update was written as poorly bear, and I am happy to say I am no longer that poorly bear- I do still have a sniffly nose but I should think that's here for winter now! This week has been a busy but very autumnal week with lots of fun things happening!

1. We had our first guests to stay on Tuesday and it was nice to have some company around the flat. I enjoyed playing host, and they enjoyed their pit stop stay so much they bought us a bottle of wine and a salted caramel cake- win!

2. I bought myself a new scarf after leaving mine behind at a concert a few months ago, and it's safe to say its doing the job perfectly

3. We became proud parents of some windowsill herbs, it's great fun coming down each morning to see how much they'v grown

4. I had a gingerbread hot chocolate at the climbing wall and it was super dreamy

5. If you read yesterday's post you'll know that I had super fun picking my own potatoes and choosing some pumpkins- we couldn't be more autumnal. 

6. I also got busy in the kitchen this week and baked some cinnamon biscuits and they were delicious if I do say so myself. 

Hope you've had a lovely week! 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Pontefract, Potatoes & Pumpkins

It's safe to say I'm cream crackered. It's just gone 9 o'clock and I could quite happily go to bed right now, twenty one going on eighty. I'd be going to bed very happy though as I have a two pumpkins on my sideboard (blue and orange to be precise, yes you heard me, blue) and a bath full of potatoes- they needed to dry out and living in a flat we don't have a garden/ shed. 

Today we left the city and ventured 30 miles South to the market town of Pontefract. The town itself wasn't very market-like but we found a castle with free parking, bingo, and free entry, double bingo. After wandering round the ruins and reading every sign we drove 1.6 miles down the road Farmer Copley's farm. I don't think we were aware of how popular this place would be, but it was the first weekend of pumpkin picking so really we shouldn't have been surprised. 

Wellies would have been the most sensible footwear to trudge across a field in, but nonetheless, my not-so-white converse held up. After walking past hundreds of pumpkins we reached the main reason for our visit, the potato field. We love potatoes, any form, any kind so we were delighted to be told they had blue ones for us to pick. No, I'm not loosing my marbles we have a blue pumpkin and blue potatoes. Once we filled a basket (and I had a worm thrown in my face) we took them off to be bagged, £5 for 12.5 kilos means we won't be needing potatoes until 2016. 

Looking back we probably should have got a wheel barrow as we entered the pumpkin field, so Jay may have ended up carrying the 12.5kg worth of potatoes round as we went in search of our pumpkins. (Pay back for throwing a worm in my face really) Now, I should probably put it out there that we didn't come here in search of a pumpkin, but upon talking to a witch, a member of staff that was dressed up, we were reassured that they would last until January if we really wanted! Another half an hour later we had found the right pumpkins and took them to the checkout ready to take home. 

By this point we were starving as we hadn't eaten lunch, so we put our goodies in the car and headed down to the cafe. I chose a sausage sandwich, whilst jay had a ham and chutney sandwich with some chips to share. We then went for a browse round the farm shop, pining over the fresh produce and yummy Halloween goodies. On our way out we stopped by the animals to say hello, then headed back to the car to make our way home. It was a lovely day, and we had our first of the potatoes with tea, they were delicious!


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Recipe: Autumn Mushrooms & Herby Pasta

As you may have gathered from recent posts, I'm obsessed with food. Not even slightly obsessed, I mean put a tasty meal in front of me and you've won the way to my heart. Our new home means we've been experimenting in the kitchen and whipping up some fabulous meals, we may not be su chefs yet but watch this space! The new meal that is slowly becoming an autumn favourite is stuffed mushrooms with herby pasta, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Fear not, if your stomach is grumbling at the sight and sound of this then scroll down, and the simple recipe will be revealed! 

Ingredients {Just a note: We don't own kitchen scales at the moment so measurements aren't exact, aka. add as much or as little as you want}
Stuffed Mushrooms
1 (or however many you like/ are cooking for) portabello or field mushroom
A few rashers of bacon
50 grams of cheese (more if you like it cheesy)
Chopped thyme

Herby Pasta
150ml herb infusion pot (also known as a stock cube)
250 grams of mushrooms
A few handfuls of penne pasta
2 tsp of mustard
3 garlic cloves (no vampires will be coming near you)

1.Pre-heat your oven to about 180 degrees celsius, not sure what gas mark that is, sorry guys for all you gas cookerers. 

2. Add some oil to a pan and fry your bacon till it's crispy. 

3. Put half of it in the mushrooms then move the pan to one side. 

4. Crumble some cheese on top of the bacon, sprinkle some breadcrumbs and add the chopped thyme. Prepare it in a baking dish then move to one side. 

5. Put the required amount of pasta in a pain of boiling water, watch out for splash back. 

6. Take out a new pan and add the mushrooms, garlic, mustard and herby stock. (You're only meant to pour 150ml into the pan, so mix the stock into 500ml of boiling water and pour the rest in with the pasta, you won't regret it)

7. Add the bacon after a few minutes and keep stirring until the stock has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft.

8. Put the stuffed mushrooms into the oven and cook till they are soft

9. Once the pasta is soft, drain then mix in the ingredients from the pan. 

10. Portion the pasta onto a plate, into a bowl or a powl (plate-bowl) and add the mushroom on the side. 

11. Serve with a refreshing white wine and enjoy!

There you have it, eleven easy steps that will leave you wanting more. And if you make too much pasta then don't worry, you can whip up a pasta salad for lunch the next day, perfecto. 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Little Things #5

I would like to begin by apologizing for the quality of the above picture, the lurgy has taken over so my ability to motivate myself isn't so high right now, everybody 'awwws'. This week (last week) saw us say goodbye to September and hello to October, welcoming in pumpkins, woolly jumpers and sniffles galore. Are you feeling sorry for me yet, because I am. No doubt the next few days will be spent wrapped up on the sofa with endless tissues, chocolate and my favourite movies on Netflix but for now lets see what my favourite bits of this past week have been. 

1. Obviously London with my chickas has to be up there, girly time was well needed since I don't really know anyone in York yet other than Jason's pals so it was nice to have a face-to-face chinwag rather than over texts. 

2. My graduation dress has arrived, yippee. Which means this next month and a bit I will be spending eating like a rabbit to ensure I can fit into it!

3. We've had two board game sessions this week, meaning we got to show off our swanky new pad and engage in a social activity.{even if it did mean loosing}

4. On Sunday we visited a vintage fair in the city and it was a nice few hours out of the house to stretch our legs and do something a bit different. 

5. Our flowers from when we first moved in finally went over, so the downstairs has been spruced up with two new bunches and they smell beautiful. 

Let's hope this week brings me back to life, but in the meantime I'm going to go and put my head over a hot bowl of water and vapour rub in an attempts to unblock my nostrils. Have a healthy week!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Saturday in the City

I'm currently sitting on the sofa, catching up on Gogglebox, surrounded by snotty tissues and have been in my pajamas since 4 o'clock. TMI? Maybe, but it's a sign that I had a fabulous day in London yesterday. My day started by leaving the house at 7:20 in the morning, I know, no-one should be out of the house at that time on a Saturday morning unless you're going on holiday. I then hopped onto a train and spent the following two hours snoozing, browsing the web and completing Sudoku's, yes I am a nerd, no I don't care

On arrival I headed over to Platform 9 and 3/4 to meet up with two of my uni girlfriends, Ellie and Gaby, who I hadn't seen since the end of may, far too long if you ask me! Our first destination was Leicester Square to scout out some cheap West End tickets and we did just that. £27 later and we had seats to the matinee performance of Wicked, bargain right! (They may have been right at the back in the corner, but that didn't hinder the enjoyment and it meant we got to use those cute red binoculars). The £27 also got us a free drink and a cake in the company's cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue which was a lovely added extra, and a nice way to catch up. If you're wondering I opted for a hot chocolate (of course) and a raspberry and white chocolate muffin. 

After we'd warmed up and filled our tummies, we went for a wander and became tourists, ambling round M&M world, roaming round Covent Garden and sitting and watching the street performers. Two o'clock soon came around, so we grabbed some lunch at EAT and made our way over to Victoria. If any of you haven't seen Wicked then I couldn't recommend that you see it more! The performer's voices are incredible and the story couldn't be more gripping. (And when you can get seats for £27 why wouldn't you want to!)

Once the show had finished, our three man band was down to two as Gaby had a train to catch, so me and Ellie headed over to Embankment to find somewhere to go for dinner, it was a good food day. We sat down for cocktails at Las Iguanas, then ventured over to Wahaca for some grub, an unusual but yummy restaurant. We did the usual and ordered too much, so decided to go for a romantic walk along the Thames, admiring the pretty sights and lights. Big Ben chimed 8, and it was time to go our separate ways, but fear not we shall be reunited in just over a months time for Graduation and I cannot wait. I had a lovely day and can't wait to do it again in the future!


Thursday, 1 October 2015

October goals

You readers are in for a treat, I'm starting another new monthly post but this time this one will be focusing on my goals. I've seen this feature on many different blogs and have loved the idea of getting to the end of the month knowing I've achieved something. So here we go, my October goals. 

1. Read 2 (or more books)
2. Bake some goodies
3. Tidy the flat (unpack the remaining boxes)

4. Paint the upstairs rooms
5. Find some more favourite blogs
6. Start yoga 

7. Do something fun for Halloween
8. Try a new restaurant

Do you have any goals for October?  
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