Saturday, 14 November 2015

From the microwave: Amy's Kitchen gluten free vegetable lasagne

Being married to a chef, I've given up the microwave meals that I used to rely on in my early twenties. But sometimes I miss them for the uber convenience and the ability to know exactly how many calories are in a meal. Sometimes if you're just cooking for one a microwave meal can be a lot cheaper than starting from scratch too.

I picked up this veggie lasagne from the freezer section at my local Co-op because it looked quite nice and I was super hungry. On reading the ingredients I liked the sound of rice flour pasta sheets too.

When I first got it out of the box I wasn't overly impressed but it only cost £2.29 and 5 minutes to cook so I could live with that. I did think to myself there's no way it will come out as cheesy as it looks in the picture, but I was pleasantly surprised because it was actually mega cheesy! 

Unfortunately I didn't realise until half way through eating it that the five minutes cooking time wasn't enough in my microwave for some reason (I hope it's not broken!). I think seven minutes was what it needed. 

Taste and texture wise it was more like spinach and ricotta cannelloni than lasagne for me, I was expecting more rich tomato flavours. It was quite tasty though and I would probably have it again one day. It give it 6.5/10

Do you know of any other good gluten free microwave meals?


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Once you go Shellac, you never go back!

Last week, in preparation for my brother's wedding, my Mum treated us both to some pampering and booked us in for a Shellac nail manicure, something that was a completely new experience for me!

I've had acrylic nails in the past and always loved them in the first week, but found that it costs a fortune in infill sessions and paint touch ups to keep them looking nice, and once removed it takes weeks for the natural nail to get back to a good condition. So I've stopped with acrylics, and had heard lots of good things about shellac but always been a little worried about the upkeep.

But of course the perfect thing is, shellac nail varnish can be easily removed at home after it starts wearing away. All I did to remove mine was soak each nail for 5 minutes in a pot of artificial nail remover from Boots and then scrape it off, then pile on lads of moisturiser after.

The colour I chose was a gorgeous purple to match the dress I would be wearing, but it had undertones of blue shimmer in it too, For the event it was perfect, however it was probably a bit dark for the rest of the time it lasted particularly as I had been going to job interviews!

What really surprised me was how rock solid the finish was. There were a few times when I knocked and scraped my nails and thought "uh-oh, that's ruined it" but was always pleasantly surprised that I didn't even see a scratch! I also spray painted some primer onto a plant pot, and got it onto my nails and that did take a bit of the shine off but that was after 6 days of wear so not bad at all.

Eventually after 10 days there were a few signs of wear around the edges of my nails and I got a bit bored of the colour so I decided to take it off. I definitely pay for it again though (£24) as I think it's well worth the money for smart nails, but next time I think I'd opt for a conservative French manicure just in case anything important came up!

The colour used was by CND and I got my nails done at a small independent salon in Eastbourne, but treatments are available nationwide.

Happy manicuring!

Brighton C x

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Shopping! 12 Summer Wedding Guest Dresses Under £20

This is the first shopping post I have written in a long while, and I really enjoyed picking out dresses! I have been looking for an affordable dress to wear to my friend's wedding, after hearing that my sister had spent £125 on her dress for mine, I panicked and thought I couldn't afford anything new. But I was really surprised by the number of dresses suitable to wear to a wedding that you can find for £20!

I've been playing around on Stylefruits creating all sorts of collections and outfits! I think I am more addicted to this than my Pinterest account..... uh oh! See below the image for prices and stockists xx

Top row from L-R
Bandeau Dress: Fashion Union £16; Shift Dress: Glamorous £14; Flock Spot Dress: ILWF £15; Floral Print Dress: ILWF £18; Bird Print Dress: LOU LOU £10; Dotty Dress: Dorothy Perkins £15;

Bottom row from L-R
Wrap Dress: ILWF £18; Satin Dress: Dorothy Perkins £15; Lace Dress: FD Avenue; £12.99; Maxi Dress: ILWF £15; Cocktail dress: ILWF £15; Maxi Dress: FD Avenue £15.99


Monday, 15 April 2013

Sometimes I wish I could get a man in

Firstly let me explain the phrase "Get a Man In" - in case you are thinking the wrong thing you naughty people! I think I first heard the phrase from a client when I was a Property Manager. She was very wealthy and if anything needed fixing or sorting she would always say "let's just get a man in" and that was it. Now I knew what she really meant was find a reliable plumber, or a decent plasterer(male or female). But I can see how her phrase was relevant and since I became a property owner I find myself thinking that more and more often!

 Getting Things Done

There are some little niggly annoying jobs that I either just don't have time to do, can't physically do (despite often trying!) or simply don't know whether it would need a plumber, electrician or specialist. So really what I want is to get a man (person) in that knows how to do it. I have contemplated putting up a classified ad on Gumtree or somewhere like that but often when I have done this for other things I have spent more time batting off the loonies that it seems worth, also it's pretty anonymous so if you book a plumber you may even get a stripper turn up, who knows! Finally it seems like some clever person has come up with an answer to my regularly predicaments. There's an app for that now.

Handlerz is an app that is free to download on iPhone/iPads and Android phones. It works by showing people in your area the job you have put up, and they can send you a proposal with a cost for helping you out. And you literally can put anything down as a request.....from borrowing a laptop or phone charger to sewing up a hole in your trousers to taking your old fridge to the dump or helping you move house.

It seems quite safe as well because users are rated on feedback and how many jobs they have done and you can see their photo too. I wish I'd have known about it a little earlier - it's taken me 3 days to remove an old worktop from my office because it was jammed in with grouting and threaded screws, but I bet if someone had the right tools and knew what they were doing it would have only taken them a couple of hours! I should have got a man in...... 


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Using Beauty Products as Cleaning Products

*Disclaimer* Using beauty products as cleaning products is generally ok - but I would never ever ever recommend anyone uses cleaning products as beauty products!!

One of my first blog posts was about how my friends and I managed to clean up a nasty red wine stain with some baby wipes, and how baby wipes seem to be pretty good at removing most stains. That wasn't the first time I'd used beauty products as cleaning products though. Years ago my then partner invited his friend to stay with us. Said friend was allergic to pretty much everything, and I needed to clean the bath before he came. Instead of using cleaning products like bleach or Flash etc I thought it would be safer to use my Sanex bath cream and it kind of worked!

The Beauty of Beauty Products for Cleaning

So I'm not talking about using your £30 skin cream to polish the sink but from time to time beauty products can work well where traditional cleaning products don't. This time around, I have discovered that pumice stone is in fact very good for removing limescale from taps.

The water in Brighton is very hard water which means that after just a few drops touch anything metal, glass, plastic and other water exposed areas, limescale forms instantly. I have been trying desperately for 2 years to remove all of the caked on limescale from our bath taps and while I was in the bath I did a sneaky test with the wet pumice stone and would you know it the limescale came off so easily! Years of elbow grease, Cillit Bang and other nasty chemicals had been out done by the humble pumice that one would normally use to buff up the heel and ball of one's foot.

Now my second disclaimer here is that both the limescaled area and the pumice must be wet, and you must be very gentle and careful not to scratch the metal.

Enjoy your revived shiny new taps!


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

My new way to find Secret Bargains without Leaving the House

As regular readers will be aware, Wed-day is just around the corner (less than 90 days now, eek!) so any spare funds I have are being piled in to decor, tying up the final payments on things like cake and trying to beautify myself with things like tooth whitening, haircuts and the like!

So I am always pleased to find a bargain now as much as ever. I have blogged before about Daily deals sites and have even shared some really good deals with my readers. But my friend told me today about a new website that has launched where anyone can upload deals they have seen in shops or online. Now this site is actually loaded with so many deals all over the place that it's impossible to pick one to share with you. I say go and take a look for yourself at SmartPound and have a good look round. 

So far I've seen people that have uploaded deals in their local M&S - which is great because a lot of the time individual stores will have different stock to each other and some may be charging less for particular items because they have too much of that stock. For example, I saw someone had put that their local M&S had men's suit for £24.95 (gasp!) and I bet that's not advertised for all and sundry to see by M&S themselves!

Screenshot of juicy bargains from
Also I saw some eagle eyed sharing and caring shoppers had spotted some great bargains on eBay like Jack Jones t-shirts for £6.99 with free delivery. I've lost many an hour trawling through pages of irrelevant eBay search results trying to grab a bargain with no luck, so if other people are willing to share their bargain finds I'll be very grateful. With thanks to these unknown bargain sharers, I promise that if I find something truly worth shouting about I'll add it on the SmartPound site and share it on my blog for you all too. Brownie Guide's Promise.


Sunday, 24 March 2013

A pretty good Sunday Shopping Trip

AF and I had a very rare day off together today, and both being a little bit hungover decided we needed to do something fun instead of lazing around at home feeling sorry for ourselves. I already had in mind that I needed to seek out some brooches (see last post) so we went to the village flea markets. There happen to be 2 flea markets in a village that only has about 15 shops... Lucky us! We love a good rummage. In the first shop there was just too much to take in, and I fell completely in love with this 1960s telephone and as it was £18 which is probably what you'd pay for a reproduction one any way, I had to have it. Oops.

Next I picked up a good collection of brooches and rings for £13 that can go on the b-project, and will be added to a good stash of broken jewellery and crafty bits I collected from around the house this morning.

Then we found some perfect milk jugs for our centrepieces, only £3.50 each in the sale at BHS but sadly only 3 left but we snapped them all up.

Finally for £18 from BHS a sparkly lampshade for the office ( our office is not so glam, the boys I work with don't care but I am on a mission to make it more homely!) a benefit of running your own business is that you can covet some of the maintenance budget for sparkly things!