Month in Review / July 2015

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

July has flown by, but that's not really that surprising to me since it seems like every month flies by these days.  Hard to believe the months ever dragged as much as they did when I was in school, now I feel like I'm grappling for more time because there aren't enough hours in the day!  Anywho, welcome to the first of a new series of posts - Month in Review.  Here I'll share some of the highlights and bits and pieces that stood out to me each month.

This month...

  • I moved my blog back over to The Zombie Said and started posting more regularly!
  • I got tattoo number five.
  • We got some unfortunate news at the start of the month that my other half was being made redundant.  Not the kind of thing you expect to be going through in your early twenties when you're just starting out in your careers.  Lucky for us, he already has an offer for one potential new one and has had another successful interview awaiting a reply.  It was pretty uncertain for a while, but it looks like we're staying down south now (ngl I'm a little disappointed by that).
  • I resolved to try and gut my wardrobe and go down to something a bit more minimalist.  I have so much stuff I never wear, and we need the extra money.  I still haven't got around to selling much yet but it's on my to-do list...
  • We found out that Chris's cousin is engaged!  Can't wait to hear what they have planned for their wedding and related festivities.
  • One weekend we made pizza and garlic flatbread from scratch.  Perks of making them yourself meant that I could load mine up with veg and leave out the cheese.
  • I rediscovered a few Sleek products that I hadn't used for a while.  I've been using the crap out of the Matte Me lip cream in Birthday Suit, and I've been playing around with my i-Divine palettes again too.  They're definitely not as good as the Urban Decay eye shadows or some of my mineral ones because they're a bit patchier and tougher to blend, but they're still pretty amazing.
  • The weather cooled down a bit again!  Huzzah!

Post of the month is our visit to Lyme Regis and the accompanying photos.  Kind of a cheat since we actually went in June, but hey, I only posted them in July!

Films & TV...

  • After seeing Jurassic World last month, we watched Jurassic Park and The Lost World.
  • I saw Ant Man at the cinema with Claire - it was awesome!  (As a side note, Paul Rudd has aged mighty fine.)
  • Chris and I have started watching Castle from the start again.  I think I got up to season 5 and then for some reason stopped, so it's nice to start from the beginning again.
  • I'm onto the most recent season of Modern Family now, eek.
  • We finally watched Battlestar Galactica: Razor and can now continue watching the TV series.

Edible things...
  • Chris made a great butternut squash, butterbean and sweetcorn stew.
  • I baked some vegan wholewheat oatmeal cookes.

Good reads...
Hope you had a great month!

Day in Photos: Quiet Sunday

Sunday, 26 July 2015

I thought I'd do another day in photos - I'll probably start doing these once or twice a month, although I'll have to try to plan them on days when I actually do something interesting.  (Un?)Fortunately, I'm a bit of a homebody and don't get out much, and there's only so many photos of my flat and food I can take.

Starting the day with a nice cup of tea in my favourite mug and a few episodes of Modern Family.  We were out of dairy milk so I tried soya milk again for a change and it didn't work out too bad.  Tea and coffee are now the only reason I ever consume dairy milk, and that's purely because I just haven't found a great alternative to it that suits my palette yet.  

View from my sofa of my little Jiji plush toy from Japan and the rather nice d├ęcor that came with the house.

This peanut butter though.  We finally tried Meridian peanut butter because it was on offer for an amazing 99p on our last Tesco shop, and wow.  It really irritates me that anyone would even think to add anything else to peanut butter when it tastes freaking fantastic with 100% peanuts.

Time to get dressed for the day.  It's only been in the past couple of months that I've started to actually see changes in my body from going to the gym and eating better; six months ago there was at the very least an extra inch of chub on my belly.  I'm not really sure how I feel about that yet though.  Honestly, with all of the healthy eating, working out and being more critical of the food I eat, it's been a quite a lot more difficult for me to maintain a body positive attitude, but that's something I'm planning a different post for.  (Also, VPL much? Ha.)

Off for my driving lesson wearing my spicy ramen socks.  I've been learning to drive for absolutely ages since I can only do one lesson per week because of work, and my practical test is booked for the start of August.  Having that weight off my shoulders and not having to spend 3 hours of my day commuting there and back by train and walking is going to give me (what feels at least) a huge chunk of my life back.

Recently with all of the hot weather and my general fatigue from work and and my journey to work and my general inability to sleep through the night, I've stopped bothering to wear much make-up.  Lately it's either all or next to nothing, and most days I only wear 3 products - brow pomade, brow gel and mascara.  My skin has been looking lovely though, which is a huge relief considering it's spent the past several months freaking out and making me feel awful about my face.

Lunch time of some leftover chickpea and tomato stew from the night before, followed by some slices of tasty honeydew melon.

I didn't have a whole lot I needed to do and Chris wasn't around to amuse me, so I figured I'd be super glamorous and have and early bath, put on a face mask and shave my legs.  Living the dream.

Made the bed and did some tidying.  I am still totally in love with this bedspread and thrilled that my cute octopus cushion matches it.

Dinner prep for a curry using a new type of lentils I was trying out.  

You can't cook dinner during the weekend without a drink, am I right?

I ate alone since Chris wasn't back from his trip yet - it turned out pretty well!  The recipe didn't call for the aubergine, but I love how aubergine just absorbs whatever other flavours are in a dish.  The split black lentils were also really nice; it's been great discovering the different textures lentils can have.  Honestly, I was getting pretty tired of my red lentils always turning to mush.  These and the mung bean/moong dal I've used in other recent curry adventures are much firmer.

Time to get ready for bed!  Don't worry, my manta ray and company don't really sleep on the floor...

And after Chris came back, we finished the day off watching Rick Stein's Spain on BBC iPlayer.  Gotta love living with a fellow foodie.

Hope you had a beautiful day and a peaceful night,

Wishlist / July 2015

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

We've been watching our spending ever since moving down south, so there's been plenty of things I wish I could buy that I just haven't.  Here are a few bits and pieces I've had my eye on this July!

1. What a boring top to have on a wishlist, am I right?  Still, I have been in serious need of more basic t-shirts and sleeveless tops and last year I bought a couple of skinny fit Topshop ones, and I'm smitten and seriously in need of some more.  They're nice and soft and breathable, and most importantly they're not totally skin tight nor do they come down past my hips, both of which qualities for some reason are super hard to find in stores' basics ranges.

2.  Another item on my list of things to buy in the next few months are some new jeans; more specifically, I want some ripped jeans.  These grey skinny jeans with ripped knees caught my eye on New Look's website.  I've never really owned a pair of grey jeans like these before and I think I'd get a lot of wear out of them since the nearer my clothes are to grey-scale, the more I tend to wear them.

3.  Is it just me or would this stormtrooper case from Debenhams make the world's coolest storage for my make-up?

4.  My hair has been bugging me lately (I really need to get it cut) and I've been really liking how these kinds of head wraps look.  It's a little bit too warm to deal with wearing anything like this on my head right now but I've got my eye on this lace one from Beau XOXO for when the weather starts to cool down.

5.  I've been pretty obsessed with cooking with Indian-inspired flavours and ingredients lately and this cookbook by Kaushy Patel has me intrigued.  The author is part of the family who runs Prashad, a restaurant that came runner-up in Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurant TV show, and the preview of the recipes is pretty damn mouthwatering and doesn't look as horribly complicated as some recipe books can be.

6.  New Look's sock game is pretty strong this year, take a look at these mermaid socks.

7.  There are many things on Shop Dixi that I would be dying to have, but this little necklace is just gorgeous.  I really want to get more simple pieces that would be good for layering or wearing alone, and I think it just strikes the perfect balance between edgy, ornate and minimalist.

8.  As soon as I saw that theBalm was releasing some liquid lipsticks, I nearly had a heart attack.  It kills me that they still don't seem to be available in the UK yet and I don't really want to pay a ridiculous shipping fee and probably customs fees on top of it - argh!  I basically want all of them, but at the moment I've been lusting after the shade Loyal in particular.

What purchases have you been craving this month?

What I Use for Cruelty Free Sun Protection

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Good sun cream was one of the hardest things to find after I went cruelty free.  Most brand name stuff that is cruelty free is also really expensive compared to what I'm used to, and I'm just not willing to spend that much money on a small bottle of sun block when I hate wearing sun block anyway.  Thankfully, I found a few things that work for me, and no animals were harmed in making them!

For the body, my go-to product is Superdrug's own brand sun care range, Solait.  Specifically, I use the Solait Sensitive Lotion SPF50, which also offers 5 star UVA protection.  As far as sunscreens go, I can't really complain.  It's pretty thick and it does leave a bit of a white cast on the skin (my tattoos look so faded when I have this on!) as well as giving the skin that usual heavy feeling that sun cream can give, but it hasn't irritated my skin at all and hasn't made me feel quite as suffocated as some sun protection can make me feel - I've had mild rashes and weird breakouts on holidays before from smothering myself in sun creams for days on end and I haven't had that problem with this.  When these are on offer, they're pretty affordable - they're usually £9.99 (which I think is extortionate for something that's literally important for your health during summer months) but are often half price, 3 for 2 and other offers.

Solait also has a tanning range, a 'normal' skin range, and an after-sun range that I'd quite like to try.  One of the after-sun products even has insect repellent in it, which I am definitely going to buy next time we go abroad!  They also do face products, which again have 5 star UVA protection, and I've been using the Solait Fluid SPF50 on days where I know my face is going to be exposed to sun for long periods of time.  It claims to be anti-aging, water resistant and mattifying and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by this!  I always hate having to apply sun protection to my face because of how it instantly clogs my pores and greases me the hell up and I had my fears with this being so cheap, but those worries were unfounded.  It goes on like a dream and although it does feel heavier than I'm used to on my face, I tend to eventually just forget it's even there.  I have pretty sensitive skin and it's been especially temperamental this year, so the fact that this hasn't broken me out and made my blackheads go nuts speaks volumes.  These are £3.49 for a small bottle normally, but again, Superdrug's offers are amazing and I got mine for a bargain £1 a while back!

The final sun protection product in my rotation is Soap & Glory's Make Yourself Youthful™ Sunshield Superfluid™.  This is more on the pricey side at £10.50 for a small bottle, but this face sun protection is pretty great too!  I was surprised to find that I actually think this is a little heavier on the skin than the Superdrug one so I do tend to favour that one now, but the Soap & Glory one is still a great option and one that served me well on holiday last year.  It's a pretty cute little bottle too, and one that I've fit easily into my handbags on many occasions to top up throughout the day.  I'm pleased that not only are there more facial sun screens available, but more SPF50 ones too (pale girls, holla~).

Do you have any cruelty free sun protection suggestions?

Visit to Lyme Regis

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A couple of weekends ago, Chris and I went on a long weekend trip to Lyme Regis with a couple of our close friends (hi Claire and Tom).  It was our first time going away with another couple and I'd say it was a success!  We had originally planned to go abroad, but uncertainty over job security and money and so on made us decide to settle on visiting somewhere else in the UK, and with our sights on the fossil beaches of Lyme Regis we booked a place to stay through Air BnB.

The place was stayed in was lovely - it was a cute little wooden cabin at the top of a huge hill, right next to a dairy farm.  You could hear cows mooing from the private garden, and there were often horses grazing on the hill just next to our cabin.  It came kitted out with everything (including a log fire that we didn't end up using because, well, summer), and we spent a lot of time hanging out there being all cosy and playing games and drinking drinks.

Lyme Regis is a lovely town with lots of quaint little streets, odd shops and things to do.  My favourite was by far the gelato place we visited a couple of times when we were there, Frank & Beans, although I wasn't that impressed by the hospitality of the seagulls that wasted no time in stealing my first cone.  If you ever want to hear me swear loudly in public in front of elderly people and children, take my friggin' ice cream.  At least I got to try some extra flavours?  If you're ever in Lyme Regis, go there and eat the chocolate sorbet and the peanut butter, caramel and chocolate ones, because that stuff is the best ice cream ever.  Seriously.

The beaches were a nice place to go, although the weather wasn't the best on the second day, and there were lots of little finds there to be unearthed.  It's easy to see why people go there looking for fossils - we found tons of ammonites as well as some quartz, pyrite and probably some other stuff too.  Sadly we didn't uncover any plesiosaurs or ichthyosaurs, but maybe next time.

When we were done with fossil hunting of our own, we checked out one of the museums in the town called Dinosaurland Fossil Museum.  We read a few Tripadvisor reviews before going that seemed to suggest that although it seems a bit odd or naff from the outside and at the start, once you're in it was well worth it and they were right.  It's a very small museum, but there's absolutely tons of different things.  You'd struggle to count the number of fossils and specimens, and the top floor even has cute little handmade dioramas of the different eras of early natural history.  It's run and funded entirely by the owners who are I believe are palaeontologists themselves, so if you're ever in the area and you love looking at dead things and learning about dinosaurs as much as I do, go check it out.

If you're looking for a quiet little get away with plenty of walks and lovely, natural sights to see I'd definitely recommend Lyme Regis and Dorset in general.  I can also now vouch for Air BnB - our first experience booking through it was fantastic!  Who'd have thought you could rent a log cabin in the middle of no where for super cheap?

Hope you enjoyed the photos, may your ice cream never be stolen by winged demons..  Have you been anywhere cool on holiday this summer?

Slightly New Scenery

Saturday, 11 July 2015

A few changes to our regularly scheduled programme today - I'm back to posting on The Zombie Said after apparently well over a year since my last post on this blog.  This website now has a whole new look (which is essentially the same as EDI's because a. blogger templates take me forever to edit and b. I liked that aesthetic) and I'll be regularly writing on here rather than on Every Day Issho.  My content isn't really going to change particularly, but I'll be aiming to post a little more often and with a little more scheduling.  This is just an update to let everyone know where I'm at and what's going on really, but I already have a few new posts lined up, so stay tuned!

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