Friday Round Up

Links, loves and lomograms from the last week. Let’s catch up with 100 Happy Days.

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Day 25 – Reduced giant Aero? Don’t mind if I do!
Day 26 – Hello sweetie…
Day 27 – Gorgeous pink blossom on my walk home from the station
Day 28 – Fell in love with Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23. Mostly love it for how hysterical James Van Der Beek is as himself in this.
Day 29 – Reading Terry Pratchett on the train
Day 30 – I got the latest collection of the Wonder Woman comics. Still not convinced by her backstory in these New 52 comics, but the comics are still good.
Day 31 – He’s home icon smile Friday Round Up

Hello there, four day weekend! Tom’s home, after his first week at the new job in Cambridge. As I type, we’re waiting on the arrival of one of our mates (the guy who introduced us in fact). We’ll be heading out for some drinks tonight, so I think the bank holiday is off to a good start.

Where have I been online?
Why My Cat Is Sad.
Delightfully Tacky: Femininity.
New Shops Standing.

Girl Crush: Kat Dennings

kat dennings 8 Girl Crush: Kat Dennings

My list of girl crushes is getting out of hand. The latest lady I kind of wish I was is the glorious Kat Dennings.

Where to begin? The figure? The face? The wit? The films?

I vaguely remember seeing Kat in an episode of Sex and The City, but it wasn’t love until Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. I really think this film is underrated; great music, and a cute and quirky rom-com plot-line. I loved Kat in it, admiring her acting and that beautiful face. And then there was 2 Broke Girls.

I could write one of these posts about Kat’s character Max Black. I was always going to love a character like Max; she’s independent, sarcastic, and she’s mouthy. The show has it’s problems, but the two central characters are so much fun to watch, and anything with Kat Dennings was sure to rate highly on my list.

Seeing Kat in both Thor movies was exciting too; she deserves to be SO much wider known than she is. Darcy makes me laugh so much, and just goes to show what a brilliant comedic actress Kat really is.

She’s funny in ‘real life’ too; her Twitter account is a highlight in my timeline without fail. She often posts selfies with her cat, live-tweets 2 Broke Girls episodes, and tweets about food a lot.

Let’s be real for a moment; it’s awesome to see a woman with Kat’s shape in Hollywood. Super skinny shapes are so often held up as the ideal, so it’s refreshing to have something different out there. Kat could rival Christina Hendricks in the curves stakes.

Plus, apparently she dated Tom Hiddleston back in 2010. Girl got taste.

Project Wonder Woman #5

collage Project Wonder Woman #5


Finding some pictures for this post has made me release how few pictures there are of me and Tom together. There’s one or two from before we were together, from friend’s parties, a selection from the first time I came to visit him in Coventry (never thought I’d be living here a year after that!), a handful from Comic Con, with one or two images in between. We both appear in a few group shots, but there’s not all that many of just us. Tom, if you’re reading, we’re fixing that. More pictures!

Anyway, Tom left for Cambridge last night, and started his new job today. I said goodbye on the pavement outside our flat, after helping load his dad’s car with his stuff. Going back inside on my own was strange. I couldn’t look back at him after saying goodbye; self preservation. The flat seemed incredibly quiet, and the few gaps left where he’d taken some of his things seemed enormous. There were a few tears, but I won’t be moping. I decided I’d be better off having a busy evening, rather than sitting and feeling sorry for myself. Three hours later, the flat was the tidiest it’s ever been! A tidy home helps for a tidy mind, I think, and I feel better for blasting through some of those little niggly tidying jobs I’d been putting off. We’re pretty good at keeping things at an acceptable level, but there’s been bits like hanging mirrors, flattening the last boxes and clearing those surfaces that become dumping grounds. I spent the rest of my evening watching Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 on Netflix, and pinning half of Ikea. I’m full of plans to get our home finished. And it still is our home. Not mine. Tom will home as often as he can, and he’ll be back for good at some point too. This is a stage we need, so Tom can get that all important first rung of the career ladder locked down. We can get some money saved, to finish our flat, to save for a holiday…short-term, this isn’t fun at all, but in the long-run, this will be so much better.

It’s been a weekend of bad eating, with meals out and treats because Tom was going, but I’ve got back on track today. I think my workout routine will improve too. Partly because keeping busy will be much better, and partly because I won’t be prioritizing time with Tom over time working out. Silver linings and all that.

Pintested: Caramel Peanut Butter Bars

Often when I’m on Pinterest, Tom will lean over my shoulder and point at foods he thinks look tasty. A shot of incredibly gooey Caramel Peanut Butter Bars caught his eyes, and after repeated requests for them, I decided to give them a go. The recipe was an American one, so I had to swap out a couple of ingredients for the UK equivalent.

I started by making the cake-like base of the bars. This was the first problem. On tasting the mix, it seemed super floury to me. Not sure if that was me being cack-handed, my measuring cups, or me interpreting the recipe wrong. Either I carried on, hoping the other ingredients would balance out the flour taste. The recipe than called for Graham Crackers, which we don’t have in the UK, but some googling informed me Digestive Biscuits were the closest thing.

WP 001511 Pintested: Caramel Peanut Butter Bars

I got the cake layer squidged in a tin, and covered it with a layer of chocolate chips and biscuit. Unfortunately Tom had already been at the pack of biscuits and left it open on the side, so they weren’t as firm and crisp as they could have been. Next up, was mixing a lot of peanut butter into a can of condensed milk.

WP 001513 Pintested: Caramel Peanut Butter Bars

WP 001515 Pintested: Caramel Peanut Butter Bars


Tom appeared at this point to check on progress, and sample the peanut butter mix. Between us, we got the mix poured over the rest of the bars. I think Tom enjoyed this bit.

WP 001517 Pintested: Caramel Peanut Butter Bars

Bars in the oven, and bowl thoroughly scraped by Tom, we waited. The bars were in for about half an hour, which, on reflection, was probably a bit long in our crazy oven. Once baked, you have to leave them for at least three hours to set.

WP 0015181 Pintested: Caramel Peanut Butter Bars

Tom quite liked these, but to me they seemed a bit…bland? The cake layer tasted of nothing, and the peanut butter caramel wasn’t gooey at all, or for that matter caramelly. I think the problem was in my own ingredients; either in swaps I had to make, or the quality just not being there. I think our oven overcooked them too. So, Pinterest verdict? Eh, ok, perfectly non-offensive, but wouldn’t make again.

Prove me wrong; original recipe is from here, please do make them and tell me how I get them how they should be!

Friday Round Up – Double Edition

Links, loves and lomograms from the last two weeks. Latest pictures from the 100 Happy Days project.

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Day 11 – Cherry Garcia at the cinema, ready to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Day 12 – Prepping breakfast to take to work in the morning
Day 13 – New workout gear!
Day 14 – New shoes!
Day 15 – Working on novel plotting. I will get this damn thing written this year.
Day 16 – Healthy snacks, going in my work bag
Day 17 – Love this tote, all packed with lunch, water and a cuppa for the train.
Day 18 – Massive mug of Lemon and Ginger tea with honey, for a sore throat.
Day 19 – That face! I think Tom was excited by the baking.
Day 20 – Window seat for my lunch.
Day 21 – Kindle reading on the train home.
Day 22 – Gu puddings reduced? Thanks, Co-Op!
Day 23 – New haircut, and beautifully styled by Francesco Group. Full review coming next week.
Day 24: Bare feet in my dolly shoes. It’s Spring at last.

So, I was rubbish last week and missed the round-up. Still, onwards and upwards. On Saturday, Tom and I went to see the new Captain America film. I love a good superhero film, and I think The Winter Solider was great. I have a soft spot for Cap, so it was inevitable I’d enjoy it, but it was fun. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do with Agents of SHIELD now though; big plot twists in the film that will definitely change the TV show a lot!

I baked on Sunday (post to come tomorrow) from a Pinterest recipe. Tom seemed to be pretty pleased about this. Work was fairly quiet last week, with a lot of people going down with some horrible virus. Something got me on Saturday, and Tom was in full nurse mode, making me go back to bed twice, bringing me herbal tea with honey, and rolling me in blankets. The sleep did fix me it seemed; I’m a bit snuffly, but much better now. This week has been a good one, with meetings with new businesses in the building.

I won’t say much about Game of Thrones, but I’m so pleased it’s back on and even more pleased to see the return of Olyvar. Some of you may remember Olyvar as Ser Loras’ paramour in season 3. He popped up again in the first episode, working in Littlefinger’s brothel. Why am I so pleased about this? Well, Olyvar is played by the wonderful Will Tudor, who I had the pleasure of working with a couple of years ago when I was still at The Courtyard. He was the Prince in the pantomime my first Christmas there. Will is a sweetheart, so I’m so pleased he’s doing well, and of course, it’s a lot of fun to tell people you know someone in Game of Thrones!

But, what have I been digging into online?
Classic album covers in Google Street View
Little Winter: Living With A Blogger
Woman attacked uses #nomakeupselfie for an amazing cause
Ten Reasons Why Rollergirls are like Superheroes
Short Girl Problems
57 Harry Potter Facts
Healthy Eating on the Go

Also, somebody did this:

BkNzdBmCMAAs4dI Friday Round Up   Double Edition

Sammydress in Red

0081 Sammydress in Red

We all know I love a good red dress (and a pair of red shoes), so it was kind of inevitable that when Sammydress invited me to review something from their website, that I’d end up with a red dress. I’ve seen a few bloggers wearing items from Sammydress, but had never bought anything from there myself. The website is vast, with an absolutely mind-boggling amount of stuff, and all for immensely cheap prices. I spent ages pouring over the website, before deciding on this dress, with some help from Tom. This little number retails at a staggering £5.54 at the time of writing.

Buying from Sammydress is a bloody bargain, frankly, but be realistic about the quality you’ll get. This dress is made from relatively cheap fabric; it’s got that swimming costumey feeling, but I don’t think it looks cheap, which is good. I love the strap detail; the double straps are striking and unusual. The ruche detail at the bust is flattering too.

The fabric makes this dress pretty clingy; not one for wearing anywhere you’ll be eating! For the price, this is a nice going out dress. That colour, the fit and the detailing make it a stand-out outfit.

As for Sammydress themselves, you can’t go wrong for the prices. My dress arrived very promptly and packaged up nice and securely. They’re definitely worth checking out for trend led pieces on a budget.

Oh, and my flat is utter crap for lighting for pictures. Sorry about that.

Project Wonder Woman #4

I’ve been a little quiet the last few days around here. It’s been all change at KissHQ, and sometimes, blogging has to take a back seat to real life.

As you may know, Tom has been trying to get into the games industry for a while now. Despite the masters degree in games design, the competitiveness of the industry has proved difficult to negotiate. He’s in the process of planning his own game, and has built games in the past with friends, but finding something full-time (and paid!) was a tricky task. Last week, he was offered a place as a QA Tester with Jagex, (Runescape is their big title, if any of you are gamers at all). He’s over the moon, as you can imagine. Unfortunately, Jagex are based in Cambridge. This means a move!
Kiss HQ will continue to be in Coventry, where I’ll be staying. On Sunday, Tom will be taking up residence in a cupboard bedroom in a shared house in Cambridge ready to start the new job on Monday, and will be coming home at weekends, when he can. Things might be a little quiet until he goes; I want to make the most of having him around while he’s still here!

I was ill on Saturday, and didn’t make it to my roller derby practice (part in thanks to being ill, and cancelled trains. I got as far as the station, say my train was cancelled, and felt too awful to find a new way to get there and went home). An afternoon in bed soon put me right though, thank God. My skating session on Thursday didn’t go that well; perhaps because I was about to be ill. I can deal with aching muscles, but my back has been bad again, so I’m contemplating what to do. I cannot risk damaging my back again. My core strength is maybe not good enough yet to cope with the pressures of the drills that go with the skating. The huge expense of all the gear is worrying me too, especially as I’ll now be shouldering more of the cost of the flat, with Tom only there part-time. I need to make a decision whether to carry on, or leave it for the time until funds and back strength are more suited to derby life. I’ll be sad to give it up, but sometimes the best thing for yourself is knowing when to say no. We’ll see what happens.

I tried out a new recipe yesterday (post to come), at Tom’s request, and I’ve got a tasty looking salad to try from Pinterest that I’m planning to make this week. Otherwise the healthy eats have been continuing (aside from a celebratory burger for Tom’s new job).

Project Wonder Woman is going to be more important in the coming weeks, while Tom and I get used to being lost distance again. It’s going to be rough, so this project to maximise my happiness is going to be needed!

Project Wonder Woman #3

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I’M GONNA BE A ROLLERGIRL! Yeah, it happened at last. One newbie day complete. I mentioned a while back I was on the waiting list with Coventry City Derby Dolls. It’s been a couple of months and I still haven’t heard anything, but I saw on Twitter that Birmingham Blitz Dames were having a Newbie Day on Saturday. So I went.
I was convinced I would stand up on skates and immediately hit the deck, but by some miracle I didn’t. I was unsteady, but gradually found I felt more confident on skates as the morning went on. The veteran Dames taught us a few techniques to stop and how to fall safely. Other than on purpose to practice safe falls, I actually didn’t fall over! Miraculous. I did trip over my own skate a bit when practicing a knee slide, but other than that, my skates stayed mostly where they’re supposed to. It was hard-work, and I HURT so much today, but it was brilliant fun. Thursdays and Saturdays are now derby days. After a month, I’ll be an official member of the league, which is awesome. Roll on being a proper Blitz Dame.

Skating twice a week means I’ll have to reshuffle my routine a bit so I can still fit in the 30 Day Shred and Couch to 5k. I really want to keep up both of those. Cross-training is really important for derby. The fitter I am, the better my endurance will be, and the easier I’ll find drills. I want to work particularly on my core strength so I can improve my derby stance. Correct stance (because it’s more stable) is very low, basically a deep squat, which is hard on the legs and the lower back. A stronger core will make that much easier!

I’m trucking on with 100 Happy Days, but I keep forgetting to post them on Twitter. The shots will all be in my Friday Round Up posts though, and get added to my Facebook the same day.

I had a reshuffle of my Pinterest recipe board last week. I split my ‘recipes’ board into two; one for healthy recipes and one for ‘treats’. I’ll be working through both boards, as well as my recipe books and trying out a couple of new recipes a month. We had a giant Sainsburys order delivered yesterday, including ingredients for some Peanut Butter bars that Tom requested after seeing the pin, and a delicious looking Burrito bowl salad. I’ll report back on how I get on!
I’ve started the week well, by making up a couple of knock-offs of the Starbucks Bircher pots, with oats, frozen fruit and yogurt, which I’m finding make a good deskfast. I’ve also made up good lunches so far, with a ton of fruit to go with my usual wrap.

All in all, a good week, I think, despite my legs trying to fall off after all that skating.

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and lomograms from the last week. On with 100 Happy Days!

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Day 4 – Nothing beats a nice cup of tea
Day 5 – Polka dot sheets!
Day 6 – Filling in my diary with nice plans for the week
Day 7 – Mouse feet!
Day 8 – My colleague’s mum baked beautiful cupcakes. She swears she just bakes for fun, but check that icing!
Day 9 – They were still the next day after I brought a few home. 
Day 10 – #burgerfriday
I’ve been to a couple of networking events this week, which has been both fun and tiring. I like networking (and not just because they give you free wine and canapes), but it is rough getting home that much later after the train commute. Clearly I’ve devoured a lot of cupcakes this week, so I’m counting that as a win. 
But, what’s going on online this week?

Project Wonder Woman #2

Starting a mission to get in better shape is a bad plan when your back is playing up. I wanted to be sure my back was settled again before putting too much stress on it, so I wasn’t actually able to do much last week. I did make it for run number 2 of Couch 2 5k though. I think I’ve found a comfortable pace to start off, although if I’m going to get in a 5k in the times the app suggests, I need to build up some more speed. As it’s only week one though, I’m not concerned. Speed will come as I get more used to running. I actually really enjoyed this run; rather than listening to music, I listened to a podcast and found it suitable distracting while I was pounding the pavements. I’ve put my name down for Park Run too, although I’m going to wait a few weeks before going, I think. I want to be a little fitter before I start joining proper runners!

Sunday is officially my rest day, but my back was a little tight when I woke up, so I did a short Blogilates workout to get things moving again. I’m going to count gentle exercise like Pilates, Yoga, walking or swimming as rest anyway. Again, I enjoyed the workout, and I can feel it in my abs today, which is nice. I like knowing it’s working!

I was meant to be getting up early this morning for Day One of the 30 Day Shred, but after a restless night, I prioritised the extra hour of sleep! I’m not concerned; as long it doesn’t become a habit, I need to listen to my body when it says no.This isn’t a bootcamp, it’s a health change.

Foodwise…well, Tom and I had a bad Saturday, as we decided to make ourselves a big breakfast, and then accidentally discovered a crazy place that delivers burgers, steak, milkshakes, cookie dough and cheesecake. So that happened. One cheeseburger, hot cookie dough and a Skittles milkshake later, I have no regrets. I’m on my best behavior this week though!