Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Shoulder to shoulder.

I love Rebecca Ferguson. I loved her when she was a contestant on the X Factor and I love her even more now.
Usually, when I do a music post, I always post five songs that have a similar theme or that I like for you to listen to.

However, this song is so good on it's own, that it's getting an entire blog post of it's own.
You have to listen to it. It's beautiful and romantic, but sad and heart-breaking at the same time. She has such an amazing voice. Okay, gushing over, have I not persuaded you to listen to it again and again on repeat already?

link: (link to the live version when you can see the beautiful Rebecca perform live)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi.

I used to laugh at that Cantonese phrase for 'Happy New Year' as it says 'Fat Choi' and until I got married, I used to be a Choi!

If you ever need the excuse to go out for a chinese, use that excuse today! It's Chinese New Year! (And if any of you are wondering, it's the year of the Dragon!)

Or you could easily cook up some of these lush chinese recipes at home:

1. Char Siu Bao (BBQ Pork dumpling)
recipe link:

2. Oriental Beef Stir-Fry
recipe link:

3. Sesame Prawn Toast
recipe link:

4. Honey Lemon Chicken
recipe link:

5. Jiaozi (Chinese Dumplings)
recipe link:

Friday, 20 January 2012


I found this article a little while back, and thought it was very true and puts things into perspective. It talks about '9 Things I Wished I'd Known When Decorating A First Home'. I've copied it out here for you to read.

1. Buy your big pieces of furniture secondhand: This is not just about saving money, it's also about how your style will change as you learn what you like and don't like. Don't spend a lot on a piece by justifying that it's a piece you've always wanted and an investment in your future. The likelihood is that your style will go through three or four metamorphoses before it settles into something that's you.

2. Reconsider before you reject: When you move into your first place, people will often be so excited for you that they'll want to gift you with some of their old stuff (or they may just be trying to get rid of it!). Before you turn up your nose at it or toss it, make a list of inexpensive changes you might make to it. You might reupholster an old couch or paint its frame a shocking pink, remove a skirt or add a pillow or six. Not only will this save you money, it will hone your ability to look at a piece in a flea market or antique shop and see its potential.

3. Inspiration boards are not always good for decorating your first space: I know that goes against everything we're always talking about but I've found that trying to recreate someone else's room in your first space, a space that will go through a lot of transitions, ends up costing you a lot in time and money.

4. Embrace the serendipity: Your first home will not be perfect. There will be odd chairs around your table, a couch that's a lot fussier than your ideal -- and that is exactly how it should be. You're learning what you like to live with, not just what you like in a picture.

5. Paint is your best friend: You can paint a wall or a piece of furniture, dip the legs of your mismatched chairs in paint to unify them or paint a block of color behind your bed to act as a faux headboard.

6. Accent walls are your decor secret: You don't have to paint the whole room. One wall is plenty and as much as most people have patience for. It's also easy to change it up if you get bored or don't like the color.

7. Friday is move your furniture around day: Okay, maybe not every Friday but at least once every few weeks try a new arrangement. Sometimes the most unexpected arrangements work the best. This is great fun to do with friends!

8. Let your home annoy you: It's tempting, after a day of looking at decor mags and blogs, to want to fix everything in your apartment, especially when it comes to storage issues. But instead of trying to solve it immediately (which usually involves buying a lot of storage containers), live with the problem for a while. Often you'll happen upon a better solution that will end up being cheaper and simpler. Which brings me to the biggest lesson.

9. Live with as little as you can. It's tempting, when you first live alone to want to get all that stuff you've been eyeing for ages. Yes, you may be a home decor nut but, instead of buying every pillow and flowerpot you see, take a picture of it, pin it to your Pinterest board or post it on your blog. Just wait a few years or a few months and your home will have accumulated plenty and you'll spend weekends trying to cull it. Embrace the minimal while you can.


I really liked that article, because it's true. The house doesn't need to look all glamourous and gorgeous straight away. It's more about using the money and resources you already have and loving what you've already got!

The website where I got this article from ( also has lots of brilliant ideas about how to use the best of your space at home, budget living and has so many lovely pictures of different rooms in the house that if you're stuck in a home-refresh-rut, I'm sure it will help you out!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pop of green.

Now that I have a home to call my own, one of my favourite things to do is imagine what I can create the room space into, and I love that I can make all the home decor decisions! I like fantasising about the crazy colours I could paint the wall or the little things I could buy to make the house look and feel extra special.

One of my loves at the moment is for the colour green. I love neutral colours and shades, but think there is something so earthy and beautiful by adding a pop of green into a room, whether that's by having artificial/real plants, one green cushion or other furnishings like that.

I think it adds freshness and brightness to a room, without being too girlie or tacky. It also makes the house feel like an extension of the garden/outside. 

I like these artificial potted plants from IKEA. I think they would look really lovely on the windowsill or on a shelf, just to add a bit of life and colour into the house!
(IKEA: £5.99 for one)

There you have it, one of my home inspirations!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Newcastle: dining at it's best.

If you're thinking of dining out at a restaurant in January, make sure it's in Newcastle!
As well as many restaurants having 'January Sales' deals where you can get a percentage off the total bill with a voucher, it's also Newcastle Restaurant Week from the 23rd - 29th January 2012.

There are over 20 restaurants participating in the Newcastle Restaurant Week offering deals of £10 per person, which is a good saving, especially for some restaurants on the list. With cuisines spanning from Indian to American as well as some restaurants offering dishes from Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam, there really is something to suit everyone!

(John Hughes© : available from here)

Here are my top five restaurants to visit during Newcastle Restaurant Week:

This restaurant is offering two courses for £10pp.
If you are sick of going to Italian restaurants and eating lasagne and carbonara, this is your restaurant! The cuisine is inspired by dishes from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand so aren't the usual ones you would find on the menu, but the interesting flavours will definitely brighten up your taste buds and your evening!

This restaurant is found on the 3rd floor of the Fenwick department store, and has a quirky1950's diner interior. This is the place to come to if you want hotdogs and fries. (I came here once and ordered 'a bucket of fries' as my side order. I just thought it was a quirky measurement, but my fries actually arrived in a proper bucket. There were so many of them!) 

This restaurant is offering two courses for £10pp
A gastro-pub with a glamourous edge. If you are in the need of some good, soul-warming food: this is the place to come! But don't be fooled into thinking it's just going to serve you fish and chips, or mince and dumplings, Barluga is different in that it offers you those winter warmers but filled with a mixture of tastes. 

This restaurant is offering the Wuhan Banquet for £10pp.
A Cantonese restaurant that is designed to impress you. They pride themselves in providing authentic Chinese cuisine and are just going from strength to strength, celebrating their fifth birthday two days ago! This restaurant is not found buried with all the other Chinese restaurants on Stowell Stree (China Town) but at Dean Street.

A very new addition to Newcastle's culinary scene. Woosa just opened in October 2011 and provides a fusion of Malaysian and Thai dishes. This deal is great as you can choose any starter and any main course that you would like, whereas all the other restaurants just give you a choice between a select few. Help this new restaurant get on it's feet by dining at it during Newcastle Restaurant Week!

I haven't decided which one I'll be dining at yet, there is definitely too much choice!
Have you been to any of the above restaurants before or dined at any that are participating in Newcastle Restaurant Week? Help me choose!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Skirting around the issue.

I love dressing all girlie in skirts and dresses, but sometimes find it hard to wear them casually, especially since they are all knee-length or longer. I always seem to end up looking a bit too prim and polished, which is really good if it's for work/church/events etc, but not very good if I just want to do a casual shop or wear around uni. However, I have found inspiration in these ladies styles and am going to try and embrace casual skirt-wearing!



I've also found some gorgeous skirts online that might help me be braver in wearing skirts in public! I need to ditch the jeans, I wear them farrrr too much! Here are some of my skirt loves at the minute

I love this skirt! I love that it has pockets (all skirts should have pockets!) and I love the grey print on it.
Miss Selfridge. £30. (source)

I love this polka dot skirt, and think that the pencil shape will be really flattering on.
River Island. £20. (source)

I think this is a bit more dressier than the other skirts, but could be toned down to casualwear by wearing with a slouchy grey tee or chunky knit jumper in a bright colour. 
River Island. £20. (source)

I love the deep, wine red colour of this maxi skirt and think it's one of those skirts you can throw on without having to think about it, but you still end up looking great!
New Look. £19.99. (source)

Monday, 9 January 2012

The green thing.

I saw this article from a forwarded post online, and think there is a lesson to be learned.
I don't know who originally wrote it (I've been scouring the internet trying to find out!), but if you do, just let me know so I can give credit where it's due!

"Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
I apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." 
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." 
She was right about one thing - our generation didn't have the green thing in “Our” day. 
So what did we have back then? 
After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day here's what I remembered we did have...
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the shops and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower car every time we had to take children to school. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. 
Back then, we washed the baby's nappys because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day. 
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of north wales. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then. 
We drank from a tap when we were thirsty instead of using a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then. 
Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their dads into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest macy dee`s. 
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?"

I think that we do take the environment, the world even, for granted. We have become more lazy and more busy, which has resulted in demanding more of the environment and products to get things done for us, which in years gone by were done by human willpower alone. Yes, we are lucky to have an array of technology at our fingertips and to be able to do things that 50 years ago were never possible, but I think that we should always be grateful. Grateful for little things like sunrises, the smell of wet grass and the way the rain splashes off the pavement. I think we should be more proud and confident in what we can achieve by ourselves, and to remember that money doesn't ultimately make us happy.
This article made me think, what about you?