Bournemouth Bloggers Meet-Up

27 February 2013

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At the meet (photo by Hannah)

So I'm not actually from near Bournemouth, but I don't live too far away, so it was super lovely to be involved with the Bournemouth Bloggers meet-up that happened last Saturday. It's always the way that you never take as many photos as you'd have hoped at these things, and I took none of the first bit when we were chilling with food and getting competitive with the quiz (I was in a team with Faye and Rosie..'The Quizzie Rascals' oh yerrrr) - I was obviously having far too much of a good time. The goody bags that Hannah had organised were absolutely unreal! There were gifts from Next, John Frieda, Lush, Beauxoxo, The Bohemian Collective, Jimmy's Iced Coffee and more, and the detailing of what was in the bags and how they were personalised was a lovely touch - it was like Christmas and birthday all at once!

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When the burly rugby started kicking off, we headed into town to have a wander before our demo session at Benefit, where we were all shown the new Fine One One product on the market which I really liked, and were also told about some new products hitting the shelves soon - a few new palettes and a fab sounding concealer is coming to counters soon!

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Brogan learning about Fine One One

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Rosie having a Fine One One demo

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(Photo by Rosie)

Personally, I find I know quite a few bloggers well from the blogging community. I enjoy getting an insight to peoples lives when I read blogs daily and half of the bloggers I know and chat to already feel like friends, and meetups are the best way to get everyone together and finally sit down in person and have a chat. I met some of my favs who I've wanted to meet for aaages, and also some people I'd never heard of before, so it's a win win situation.

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Enjoying my iced coffee from Jimmy's Iced Coffee when I got home

Thank you very much to Hannah for taking the time to organise the whole thing! It was a blast and I'm looking forward to the next meetup on the cards - big love to all the lovely girls (and guy!) at the event!

-Tamsin xxx

Recipe: Peanut Butter S'more Crumble Bites

23 February 2013

Sometimes when you've an empty day, you think up interesting things to do. Today, I came up with 'Peanut Butter S'more Crumble Bites'. Yes indeed.

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I decided to use the marshmallow as the main part of the recipe and have what would have been the 'Graham Cracker' as the crumble on top. And why would I not add peanut butter? I think the best way to describe these is just to show you.

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What you need:

*Marshmallows
*Chocolate to melt
*Peanut Butter
*Digestive Biscuits



How to make them

Take your digestives and smash them down with the end of a rolling pin so they turn into crumbs. I like mine to have a few bigger crumbs in there.


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Melt your chocolate (I used choc chips because they melt quicker..all about convenience eh?)


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Take your marshmallow, turn it upside down and spread some peanut butter on.

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Then drizzle some of the melted chocolate onto the peanut butter.

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Turn your marshmallow upside down and dip it into the digestive crumb mix. Make sure the top is coated nicely.

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Complete this process for however many bites you want to make. Then leave them in the fridge for a bit to set. They're better when they're firmer.

Then all you have to do is do the washing up..or as I call it, eating the remaining melted chocolate.

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And there you have it: Peanut Butter S'more Crumble Bites. Super easy to make, super yummy to eat and a lot lower in cals than a typical s'more would be, whilst curing the need for something sweet in one bite. Perfect. My latest invention and one of my fav inventions to date. Enjoy ;)

-Tamsin xxx

Hear Muffs

21 February 2013

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Believe it or not, I actually quite enjoy chilly weather. Not rainy chilly weather though. I like it when the Winter sun is beaming down, it instantly changes your mood for the day, you get to wrap up warm in your fav coat and accessories and feel the chill on your face when you step into a toasty warm Starbucks. However, I suffer from severe windchill in my ears. The pain is horrendous and I can only describe it as having ice cubes stuffed into your ear drums and them melting slowly. It is naaat nice. I'm usually found with my Michael Kors earmuffs on to counteract this but it does make it difficult to listen to music when you're on the go.

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Hear Muffs* seem like the perfect solution then, no? They're basically knitted ear muffs with secret headphones inside, so you can incorporate listening to your fav tunes on your morning commute into work/school but also keep your ears toasty warm. They sit on the back of your head so as not to mess up the hair (huge thumbs up from me for this..nothing like perfecting your hair with the ultimate volume and then having ear muffs flatten it straight down.) Other features are an adjustable headband, they fold up into your handbag (another big thumbs up) and have volume control on the cord. Mine are in black but they also come in a variety of different colours if you fancy something a bit brighter. All you need to do is plug them into any phone, iPod, iPad, or similar and you're ready to brave the brutal Winter chill. They're only £9.95 too. Can you say bargain?

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I've loved using them and they've become a staple for me whenever I'm on the tube or wandering around town shopping. No more windchill complete with listening to my fav tunes..what's not to love? Plus, Max is a big fan too. How can you say no?

-Tamsin xxx

Kale Crisps

20 February 2013

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Newsflash -  you can actually have crisps as a healthy snack..no kidding! These aren't potato crisps though..these are kale crisps made out of curly kale. Kale can be a bit forgotten about as a vegetable - my Mum is one of the only people I've come across who will serve kale with roast dinners, or with pan cooked tuna. I hope you're all not turning your noses up instantly because it's a leafy green..give this wonder a chance ;) It's extremely flavoursome and here are just some of the good things in kale:

It is packed full of:

*fibre
*calcium
*magnesium
*vitamin A
*vitamin B6
*vitamin C
*vitamin K
*antioxidents
*an 100g serving gives you 34 calories...100g!

Not only is it super healthy for you (it's considered a bit of a super vegetable) but it helps to lower cholesterol, can reduce heart disease and helps to prevent cataracts in the eyes. I'd also like to remind you of the fact that 100g is only 34 calories. A healthy persons dream food no?

Victoria Beckham has been known to munch on these kale crisps because they have pretty much zero fat in them, and do I blame her? No. Kale when roasted is so flavoursome and the health benefits are too good to miss. Plus, it's guilt free snacking then. I always snack on these in the office or if I need an afternoon munch to get me through to dinner.

What you need:

Kale
Oil/1 Cal Oil Spray
Choice of seasoning


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How to make them

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4)

*Wash and dry your kale making sure any excess water is gone - this will make sure they're nice and crispy when baked.

*Chop the leaves into crisp size pieces - quite often, the kale is already broken into perfect sized pieces anyway, but if you buy your kale from the greengrocers, make sure you pull the leafy part away from the stalk.

*Sprinkle with oil or if you prefer low calorie then 1 calorie spray is perfect for this (I use low cal spray but these are seriously yummy with garlic infused oil drizzled over!)

*Season - you can season them with so many things so be creative! I'm using sea salt and lemon as that's what I fancy today, but you could use garlic, pepper, cayenne pepper, chilli etc the list goes on!

*Roast for 12ish minutes but keep checking! There's a fine line between the kale crisps being crispy and yummy, and being too overdone. They should be a rich green, but not overly done. They're quite delicate so handle with tlc ;)

Then you can eat to your hearts desire. Guiltless snacking, it takes no time at all and the health kick is massive...what more could you want from an afternoon snack?

-Tamsin xxx

Chinatown

19 February 2013

Seeing as it's half term (finally!), I'm enjoying my well earned time off as much as I can - trust me...staff need it more than the students ;) I didn't get much chance to celebrate Chinese New Year as I was working solidly, but usually every year, we head to Chinatown to soak up the atmosphere, gawp at the gorgeous lanterns everywhere and of course, eat some rather good food. We usually go to the same restaurant in Wardour Street as we have a Chinese friend who insists it is the best, but my mum and I decided to delve into 'Bone Daddies' as recommended by Rosie. Authentic Asian food is so different to the greaseball stuff you get from your local takeaway so if you're put off by a bad Chinese experience, open your mind and head to Chinatown. It will change your mind, I promise. My Mum works solidly too so having a whole day together is a rarity these days, but we popped to Chinatown with a skip in our step and enjoying the London sunshine.

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Bone Daddies isn't an obvious choice of restaurant from the outside - you'd easily walk past it, until you smelt the food wafting through the doors - I'm speaking from experience here. It's on a small road off of Wardour Street and it's the type of road you wouldn't have a reason to walk down - well now we do. It's a funky little restaurant and you sit on high stools and squash up to your foodie neighbour. Ramen noodles is the main focus so if you like big bowls of brothy noodle soup filled with veg and chinese spice then Bone Daddies is probably a winner for you. My Mum went for the Sweet 3 Miso Ramen which she dove into rather rapidly, and I went for the T22, which came complete with 'cock scratchings' - like pork scratchings but with a far better name. Both bowls were delicious and as much as we tried, we couldn't finish them.

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We wandered Gerrard Street for a while and browsed our fav supermarket 'Oriental Delight' and bought a couple of authentic bits and bobs to make our own Chinese food with. Never be afraid to check out the oriental supermarkets..the owners are lovely, authentic produce makes better food, and it is a real snapshot of a different world of ingredients. By this point we decided we were thirsty and so headed to my fav bubble tea haunt 'Boba Jam' on Shaftesbury Avenue. Bubble tea is one of my fav sweet treats and I have been drinking it for years now. My Mum however had never tried it - it was an experience for her, but she loved it and can't wait to return for more!

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Westfield Stratford was calling our names in the afternoon so we nipped there for a quick browse to finish off our day together. I didn't buy much..a couple of bits from L'Occitane and a few more Disney mugs for my ever growing collection. It was a lovely day together and Mum is now trying to reschedule clients on Wednesday so we can have another day out. 

If you're local to London or in the surrounding areas, make sure you pop to Chinatown whilst all the decorations are out..they're a beautiful sight!

-Tamsin xxx

Max's Story

15 February 2013

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Dogs have always been in my life, and I'm insistent that they always will be. When I was 6, we were getting a new Jack Russell Terrier, and as the little madam I was at that age, I picked up this tiny black and white Jack Russell puppy from a litter we were visiting, and that was that. He was ours, but always my dog. Eddie was the best companion I ever could have wanted growing up. He was cheeky, funny and sweet, and typically loyal, and I had never loved anything so much. We ended up getting another Jack Russell called Buzz when I was 11 and that was our Jack Russell duo. Over the years, Eddie never aged - yes he lost colouring in his fur as is natural, but he was as fit as a fiddle and the vets could never quite believe how healthy he truly was.

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Eddie and I

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Eddie and Buzz

When I moved down to Dorset at the end of August in 2011, I gave Eddie a huge cuddle and told him I'd come and visit during the holidays when I wasn't teaching. However, in early October, something just 'pinged' in his back and he lost the use of his legs. The vets said that even though he was 15, he had the health of a 7 year old dog, but my parents didn't want him to suffer and so he was put down in my Dad's arms. I never got to say goodbye. I truly believe I grieved as you would do a human and I really did struggle at work, especially being on my own with my partner Jonny away with the Royal Navy most of the time. Buzz became my substitute but it wasn't the same..I love Buzz but he wasn't mine in a sense. There was a hole in my life and I needed to fill it.

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Eddie ready for Christmas

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Jonny and Eddie

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Buzz and Eddie

In January 2012, I started looking at rehoming a dog. I realised that it was the only way I could move on - some people find they can't get another animal for years, but for me, it was the only way I could deal with it. Fortunately, Jonny was happy to get a dog and we set about looking. I will admit that I didn't find rehoming the easiest process. A lot of charities or rehoming centres have quite odd rules, and it just seemed to hinder us in giving a dog a loving home which is surely what all rehoming centres want ultimately. Finally, after checking daily on The Blue Cross' website, I found their advert for a one year old Jack Russell called Max.


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Max when he first arrived at The Blue Cross in Tiverton, Devon (thank you for the photo!)

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Max in his Royal Navy jumper that Jonny's mum knitted for when he returned from deployment


Lots of rehoming centres get you to come and visit, let you walk around the centre etc and if you like the look of a dog, then the process starts. With The Blue Cross, you fill in an application before you go and visit the dog, with all of your details including work, pet history, family life etc, which is actually a really good way of doing it - compatibility is extremely important. I'd only sent the application off within 30 minutes and I'd had a call saying they thought Max and I were a perfect match and they'd like me to visit. I went two days later (unfortunately Jonny couldn't be there that day) and Max and I had our first meeting.

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Buzz and Max

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Family hug a few minutes after Jonny had arrived back in the UK after 6 months apart


We met in a private room, and then they let me take him on a walk in their designated areas so you can see how you get on without watchful eyes, and then you could go in their enclosed field and play with them for as long as you liked. I was in love straight away and knew he had to be mine. I went back and signed all the documents and said I'd be back a week later as I wanted Jonny to be there so Max was aware he was family and not a stranger. A week later, he was home with us and asleep in Jonny's arms.


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Jonny and Max chilling with a glass of wine..both looking a little tipsy

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Max sitting on my desk in the office


Not much is known about Max's history. He was abandoned at the side of a road in Ireland by what they assume are gypsy travellers. At first, he was terrified of roads because of this, and also bin bags (we believe he may have been tied up in one) and we had to work with helping him through this. But, plus sides were that he'd learnt his name quickly at the centre and was pretty much toilet trained. It makes me angry to think that someone could just leave an animal at the side of a road - how can these people exist? I get so frustrated with animal cruelty..there should be harsher punishments for it in the UK. So many people get away with such horrible deeds.

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Max at the pub waiting for a few pork scratchings to be thrown his way

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Max trying to beat Jonny in a race...he did overtake him and won by a mile

We've now had Max a year and rehoming him was one of the best decisions of my life. He comes everywhere with me now - to work, the pub, car journeys, shopping trips, he has tons of 'dog cousins and friends' (including my parents new Siamese cat Rufus!), all his hang-ups are gone, and any trace of his past has disappeared. He hasn't replaced my Eddie, but he filled the hole that was so evident and he's a new generation of Jack Russell's in my family. He may be the most spoilt little dog in the world, but after his previous life, he only deserves what he should have had as a puppy. I love that so many of my readers comment on Max and say how sweet he is - it means particularly a lot when you know he's now so loved and in a new life.


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Max viewing the scenery at Montacute House

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Max making sure he has optimum choice of his toys


If you were looking to rehome, I would recommend The Blue Cross. We used the Tiverton centre in North Devon but they have centres all over the UK. Their process was easy, logical, and caring, not to mention relatively cheap - Max was £90 and that included microchipping him, all his up to date vaccinations and neutering which would all be expensive separately. But at the heart of it, I would have paid anything to give my little chap a loving home. I'm hoping to have many more years of fun and laughter with him :)

-Tamsin xxx

New Look Chelsea Boots

14 February 2013

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The other week, my partner was home from work for a couple of days during the weekday which is a real rarity. It was so comforting knowing that at the end of a busy, tiring day at work that he'd be there waiting when I got home, not to mention Max having company during the day (as well as masses of walks!) which is always reassuring. One morning he said he was popping to town to buy some new running bits and bobs and then he'd be taking the dog for a run. When I got back, there were these lovely boots waiting for me on the bed. I think he'd seen me eyeing them up in New Look and now they were mine! They're a Chelsea style boot with a zipper on the inside and quite a thick block heel and are unbelievably comfy. Because of the material, they seem to pick up dust and dirt a little, but it seems to give them a more worn look which I really like, and I've just been using a baby wipe on them when I want to clean them.

He took the label off them before I was back, but I think they were between £29.99 to £35 maybe. I can't find them on the website now but they still might be in stores. So just a reminder ladies...sometimes men do note your shoe size!

-Tamsin xxx