Wednesday, 26 June 2013

43. Recipes // Chicken Jalfrezi

As some of you will be aware, I'm saving to move in with my boyfriend of (almost) 4 years, later on this year. So I've been getting into scrimping and thrifting; one aspect of which, is affordable meals. We both love food, and good food, not just beans or cheese on toast! I know how easy it is to spend an absolute fortune on food; sometimes we spend over £10 just on snacks for the night, or £20 on a big takeaway, but once we're living together and paying all these 'grown-up' expenses, we won't have cash to splash on fancy food.

Therefore, I've been looking for affordable meal ideas. But meal ideas that are tasty and healthy too! I don't want to be living off cheesy pasta or pot noodles - we love to cook our own food using fresh ingredients and we will continue to do this when we're living together too.

My parents are pretty good scrimpers too and we often feed a family of 6, for a whole week, on under £100; that's including breakfast, lunches and a cooked evening meal, as well as all the basics such as bread, milk, butter, etc. So today when my dad said he'd be working late, I jumped at the chance to try and create a family meal for under a fiver. Here's what I came up with!

Chicken Jalfrezi Curry with Rice
Ingredients (for 5 people)

500g of chicken (from a £3.99 1kg bag of frozen chicken breast, Aldi) = £1.99
500g of long grain white rice (around 40p for 1kg, Aldi) = £0.20
500g Jalfrezi Sauce (available in Aldi for around £1) = £1.00
1 x large onion (from Tesco) = £0.20
2 x garlic cloves (£0.25 for whole garlic, Tesco) = £0.10
1/2 x green chilli (60p for 60g) = £0.10
1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil = free; you'll always have some in the cupboard!
1tsp of Habanero red sauce (£0.99 at Aldi, approx. 30tsps in a jar) = £0.04
20g fresh ginger (15p for 70g) = £0.05
1tsp salt = free; you'll always have some in the cupboard!
= £3.68 / £0.74 per person


Method
Dice the chicken (with a separate knife), onion, garlic, chilli and ginger 


Fry the chicken and onions together in olive oil for 3 minutes
Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another 2-3 minutes


Add the curry sauce, Habanero sauce and chilli (if you want a kick)
Leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes

In the meantime: prepare your rice, na'an or papadums 

Apologies for the poor quality photos; they were taken on my mobile.

The curry went down really well, as they always do in our household. It's such a simple meal as the sauce is ready-made and it only takes about half an hour from preparation right through to serving up the meal.

The only thing I would change next time, I would add some chunks of potato or carrot to bulk it up as there wasn't that much chicken. I'd probably serve it with some na'an bread or papadums with chutneys too, and some salad on the side. However, even with these extras, I doubt the meal would cost more than £5 to make!


As I'm also on a bit of a health-kick, I worked out the calories in one serving of this meal and it's only just over 600 calories which, for your main meal of the day, is pretty good I think. 

To cut calories, you could always eat the curry with salad instead of rice, or try brown rice rather than white or basmati. 

Love, Becci xo

42. Recipes // Low Calorie Cooked Breakfast

This morning I'm going to share a secret... *whispers* you can eat a fry-up even if you're on a diet.

A common misconception which people - including myself - have when dieting, or eating healthily, is that you've got to ban certain foods; puddings, wine, fry-ups, etc. No. You. Don't.Although there are healthier, lower fat alternatives (e.g. porridge, fruit, natural yogurt, etc) a cooked breakfast really does fill you up and keeps you going for the rest of the morning; meaning that you're less likely to snack and, therefore, less likely to take in extra unnecessary calories.Here's how you can make a cooked breakfast, healthily.Ingredients:2 x Sainsbury's Bacon Medallions (33 calories each, 0.7g fat each)1 x Medium Free Range Egg (around 80 calories, 6g of fat)25g x Button Mushrooms (around 5 calories, 0.1g of fat)1 x Slice of Hovis Medium Wholemeal Bread (88 calories per slice, 0.7g of fat)= 206 calories, 7.5g fatWhen cooking your breakfast, don't be tempted to use oil or butter - you don't need itIf you begin by heating your frying pan and cooking the bacon first, you can use the fat from the bacon to fry the rest of your ingredients.
Slice the mushrooms however you like and fry them for the same amount of time as the bacon, or less, depending on how well-done you like them to be.
If you want to make it even healthier: poach rather than fry the egg.Instead of using butter on your slice of bread (or toast), use tomato ketchup as the flavour goes well with the ingredients, and it has a fraction of the calories and fat content.I'd have this breakfast with a cup of herbal tea and a pint of cold water, and perhaps some fruit with yogurt (only another 150 calories, approximately) to fill me up until lunchtime.I hope you enjoyed this post!


Much love, Becci xo

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

41. Health // My Health Kick (Round Two)

Today's post is something a little different and bit more personal than usual too. Today I'm going to talk about the health kick I've embarked on (for the billionth time) this week.

On January 1st, I kicked off my healthy living pledge and managed to lose around 20lbs in the first three months, simply by eating less and doing more. I didn't cut anything out of my diet; I limited refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, rice) and ate more fruit and vegetables. I let myself have a treat, within reason, when I fancied something naughty and I didn't punish myself if I over ate.

However, after three months, my motivation began to dwindle and I fell back into old, bad habits. Since the start of April, I have re-gained somewhere between 7-10lbs and I feel just as big as I did at the end of last year. 

So, I've pledged to get back into healthy living again and try to lose somewhere between 2 and 3 stone, by Christmas. I'm really heavy; like massively heavy. According to a BMI calculator (which, for the record, are total bullsh*t) I'm 'morbidly obese,' when in reality, I think I'm just 'a bit fat.' 

I have no issues with people being overweight, chubby or fat - I just don't like it on me. I don't want to be thin, I don't even want to be slim... I just want to be able to be happy with my body and the way that it looks in, and out of, clothes. 

My current measurements (please don't laugh...) are as follows:
Bust - 45" 
(No, this isn't a typo... I have huge boobs... Awkward)
Waist - 34"
Hips - 43"

Bare in mind that I'm only 5' 4" so, in reality, I'm quite short and wide. Blurgh. I'm not going to write down my weight as I'm too embarrassed (I'm actually also embarrassed by the fact that I'm embarrassed about my weight but, hey, that's just how I am as a person), but I'll update weekly to let you all know how I'm getting on.

I'm aiming for 1.5lbs a week through sensible, healthy eating and increasing the amount of exercise I do; this will just be walking and some toning exercises; I am not - I repeat: NOT - joining a gym. It's my idea of Hell.

Anyway, enough rambling... I hope you enjoyed this post. I know it's something that a lot of people can relate to so I thought it'd be nice to share my journey with you! I might even post some pictures if I've got the nerve!

Love Becci xo

Sunday, 23 June 2013

40. Lifestyle // My Weekend

Hey lovelies, I had promised that I'd be uploading a recipe for Singapore Chicken Noodles today but, as it's a rainy Sunday, the man-friend and I decided to have a lazy day, involving no cooking whatsoever... so I'll try and blog the recipe at some point next week.

There are so many things that I'm dying to blog about but for today I thought I'd keep it short and sweet, so I can get back to lying in bed, watching films and eating chocolates. So, instead, here's what I got up to this weekend.

Friday

On Friday, I had the interview that I'd been so ridiculously nervous/excited/terrified/happy about; and, for anyone who didn't read my post earlier in the week, I got the job. A real job, a proper one. 

However, I also had some bad news from the family front which shook me a bit so I decided that, rather than celebrating with my boyfriend or friends, I'd go out for a drink and a catch up with my mum as we 'really needed to talk' and all that. So, we went up to a beautiful pub called The Rat Inn (situated in Anick, Northumberland) and I had an ice-cold j20 in the sunshine whilst we caught up. I have only been home once in the last three weeks so it was a much overdue catch up.



I headed home at about 6.30pm and S and I shared a bottle of wine and watched Wreck it Ralph in bed.

Saturday

Yesterday was another fab day. I was awoken at 9.30am by the - eventual - arrival of my *beautiful* new phone, which I then spent most of the morning playing on. I love, love, love it; I can even update my blog from my phone now which is new to me!

When S finished work, we headed over to the Metrocentre for our date night. It had been a few weeks since we'd had a proper day out together as we've been so skint and stressed lately, so we decided we deserved a nice day out. 

We went to see Brad Pitt's new movie - 'World War Z' - which I really enjoyed. It isn't absolutely amazing, but I'd watch it again and I liked the storyline. And, well, Brad Pitt. Need I say anymore?

After the film, we headed to one of our all-time favourite restauraunts, Chiquito's. Chiquito's is a Mexican restaurant with a huge range of meals; from fajitas and enchiladas, to steaks and salads. They also have some incredible sounding cocktails on the menu. *Yum!*

We opted to share the fully loaded nachos for a stater which were amazing and super filling; I think three or even four people could quite happily share a bowl and for under £10, they're not too expensive either! For my main course, I fancied trying something different, so I had spicy chicken baked enchiladas with spiced Mexican rice. One word: delish.



S went for the Piri Piri Chicken with sweet potato wedges and coleslaw which also looked gorgeous but there's no way I could of managed to eat such a big portion! We washed our food down with two pints of San Miguel (for him) and a large glass of Rioja (for her). The best bit was... Chiquito's had a special offer on that day; 'show your cinema ticket from today and get 20% off your food bill.' We panicked when we arrived as we realised we'd left the tickets in the cinema but our waiter Smiler (who totally lived up to his name and was a delight) gave us the discount anyway, which was lovely.

Altogether our meal cost just under £45 which I thought was a steal as we spent a good hour and a half there, enjoyed the food immensly and left barely able to walk as we were so full.

Sunday

Today is our lazy day as I'm heading home tomorrow and we wanted to just relax together, stay in bed all day and enjoy each others company, as I won't be back until next Saturday. We had a lovely long lie-in and then headed down to our local Wetherspoons for a big fat fry-up, which was super tasty (and super unhealthy).


The rest of the day will probably consist of films, chocolate and cuddles. Which is fine by me as next week is a very busy week. I have lots of university work to catch-up on and an assignment to finish *eek* and I also need to prepare for my new job which starts a week on Monday!

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend too.

Much love,
Becci xo

PS. Don't forget to enter my 2,000 views giveaway! Scroll down the page and you'll find it :)

Friday, 21 June 2013

39. Fashion // Workwear Wishlist

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen that today I got a new job! My first ever full-time, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, salaried job. I am ridiculously excited. Not only for the prospect of work and money and new challenges, but... new clothes. I've compiled a wishlist for the clothes and accessories that I'd love to have for my new job and they're all from high-street stores (win!)
These gorgeous diamante-studded pumps are from New Look and cost only £19.99. I think they'd look great with a pair of black jeans and a nice shirt.


I fell in love with this blue damask printed skirt from Dorothy Perkins the moment I saw it. It's lovely and summery and would look great with a black or white vest and a blazer. Plus, it's only £20!


I spotted this long-line waterfall blazer on the New Look website (for only £24.99) and loved it immediately. I'm a big fan of pastel pink and I think this blazer could be used to make a casual outfit look a little more formal.


This beautiful rich, reddish-pink dress would be ideal for my new office based job. Dressed up with black tights and heels, it'd look perfect. It's available on the Littlewoods website for £60.


In my opinion, Accessorize have the best selection of bags and purses available on the high-street. I like this monochrome bag as it screams sophistication and professionalism and - to sweeten the deal - it's only £35.

What do you think of the items I've picked out?
Would you buy any of them?

Love,
Becci xox

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

37. Lifestyle // Where have I been?!

As some of you (well, anyone who actually chooses to read my blog) will have noticed, I've not been very present over the last couple of weeks and I thought I owed you all a bit of an explanation and a catch-up.

I've been working night/early shifts at work since last Monday and these have messed up my schedule so much, I can't even begin to describe it. I've been starting work at 1am; which means getting up at midnight, having tried (and failed) to sleep since 4pm (this is super difficult in summertime as it's so bright, gah!) and working through until 9am. 

As I don't drive this has also meant I've had to spend every night at my boyfriends. Now, don't get me wrong, I love staying at my boyfriends & we're planning to move in together very soon (more on that in a later post!) so I'm not complaining, but it's meant that I've only been home once in the last 17 days, so I'm missing my family (you won't hear me saying that very often...) a lot

Also, the time I've spent with S hasn't even been quality time; he works until mid-afternoon so, by the time he comes home from work, I'm having to prepare myself to go to bed which means we've not had a chance to go out and do anything or even to do something as simple as watch a film together!

It's also meant that I've struggled to settle into a routine so when I've come home from work (promising that I'll have a productive day and get some studying done, a bit of tidying up and then see a friend or go for a coffee) I've actually ended up flitting between lying in bed doing nothing and, well, lying in bed and doing nothing (on the laptop). Basically, it's been an incredibly unproductive fortnight for me. But, thankfully, I've managed to get the rest of the week off which is fantastic and I'm only working 3 days next week and then that is nightshift over and done with! I cannot wait.

So, that's why I've been so lax with blogging lately. Although I've felt as though I've had plenty of topics I'd like to discuss; I just haven't had the energy or the motivation to do so. 

On a more positive note; I'm planning on spending the next 5 days catching up with my Open University studies and I'm really enjoying the topic I'm working on at the moment (the art of Benin, if anybody is interested? A mix of history and art) so I'm feeling positive about my next assignment. 

I also had some fantastic news this week! I applied for a job at a local newspaper and managed to get an interview which I attended on Monday. I thought it had gone terribly but I got a phone-call the next morning, asking me to go in again this Friday for some ability tests and an interview with the 'boss,' so I'm incredibly nervous/excited/terrified/flattered. The job - which I won't go into too much detail about just in case I don't get it - would be absolutely perfect for me; it's full-time, it's local, it's challenging, it plays to my strengths and it will provide me with so many opportunities for the future, in terms of career and skills, as well as actually having the money to 'do stuff' such as go on holiday, treat myself and move in with my boyfriend. So please keep your fingers (and whatever else.. depending on how flexible you are!) crossed for me on Friday!

I'm also going to catch up on my sleep and spend a bit more time on myself; I need some pampering as I've neglected myself a bit recently. I've not caught up with any of my friends for over a week and I can't even remember the last time I had a proper bubble-bath with candles, music and a glass of wine. 

I've also been thinking a lot about my future in blogging. I'm aware that my blog isn't the best; I seriously need to work on my writing but - you know what? - that's what a blog is for. I'm not an author or a poet or a journalist; in other words, I'm not a professional writer. I'm just a girl who loves reading lifestyle, beauty and food blogs and decided to give it a shot by doing it myself! 

I know I don't have a massive following and I'm, by no means, an established blogger but I write my blog for me and if other people enjoy reading it then that's obviously a bonus, but it's not the main reason that I blog. It's a release for me; it's a way for me to share what I'm interested in with like-minded people and it has become a hobby recently.

I'm also having a bit of a change around (you'll notice this in a couple of weeks when I get my new blog design - eek!) and streamlining the topics I'm going to cover, but I'll do a proper post about this again soon!

Sorry this has been such a long, disjointed post but I felt like I needed to write something, anything, and so I wrote exactly what came into my mind! I'll be blogging again over the weekend as I have lots of ideas so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for reading,
Becci xox

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

36. Giveaway // My First 2,000 Views

My little-known blog is picking up some momentum and, as a little thank-you to everyone who has taken the time to have a nosy through my ramblings, I'm going to hold my first ever giveaway when I reach my first 2,000 views.

I know 2,000 views isn't a lot to many bloggers but, for a new starter, I'm pleased with the amount of views I've achieved in the last month and this is my way of showing my appreciation.

I've yet to decide on the special gift for one lucky lady (or man, who knows who reads this?!) but I'll make sure it's something very pretty, as I know everybody loves pretty things.

So, to enter my giveaway all I'd ask is that you're following me on Twitter (@OnlyBecci), Bloglovin (there is a link, to your right, to follow me on Bloglovin) & to comment with your email address in the comments box or to send me a quick message on Twitter or Hotmail  (beccicharlton@hotmail.co.uk) if you'd prefer to keep your email address confidential.

Thank-you and best of luck!

Love, Becci xo

Monday, 10 June 2013

35. Recipes // Victoria Sponge Butterfly Cakes

I'm a huge fan of homemade treats (especially cakes!) and I love to bake them for birthdays as it's something I'm half-decent at, it's fun and it's a lot better for my bank balance than shelling out on an expensive present.

My boyfriend also loves cake and so, this year for his 25th birthday along with several other homemade presents, I baked him a batch of Victoria sponge Butterfly cakes, using my Granny's traditional recipe. They went down a treat.

It's a very simple and memorable recipe and so quick - you only need one spoon and one bowl! This recipe should make 12 average sized buns.

Ingredients for the Sponge
3 x eggs 
Butter (softened)
Self-raising Flour
Caster sugar

Ingredients for the Filling
1/2 jar of jam (whatever flavour you prefer)
140g butter (softened)
280g icing sugar
Icing sugar to dust

The trick: weigh your eggs (say, for example, they weigh 200g altogether)
You would then use 200g of butter, self-raising flour & caster sugar respectively.

Method
Mix together all ingredients in a bowl until it forms a smooth mixture
Spoon into bun cases and cook in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for approx. 20 minutes
Whilst cooling, mix your butter and icing sugar until smooth yet thick


 Using a sharp knife, cut out a circle of sponge


Fill the hole firstly with jam and then the butter-cream 
Slice circle of sponge in half, place on cake to look like a butterfly
Blob a bit of jam in the middle for some colour
Dust with icing sugar 


And finally: Scoff.

Tip: For more colour, add some icing colour to the butter-cream and use sprinkles/glitter

Lots of love,
Becci xo

Saturday, 8 June 2013

34. Challenges // 21 before 21

I'm absolutely terrified about turning 21. I'm actually counting down the days (129 for anyone whose interested...) and constantly asking myself, 'where have the last 21 years gone?!' 'what have I achieved?' 

You see, to me 21 is a big birthday. It signals the point when you should be growing up, being independent and, of course, having the time of your life! Sometimes I worry that my life is just passing me by, especially with my anxiety that stops me doing a lot of things that I'd like to do, but I don't want it to be like that.

Your 20's are supposed to be some of the funnest times of your life; before you get all the stresses of a mortgage and bills and just general day to day boring-ness (is that a word?) and I want to make the most of that. Although I - along with a lot of other people around my age - do already have to worry about making ends meet and, occasionally, whether I've even got enough money to eat, I do still have so many opportunities for fun and excitement and I promise to take advantage of that!

However, before I turn 21 in October, there are a few things I'd like to achieve; some fun (yay), some boring and some that I just 'need' to get over and done with. I hope you enjoy reading through my 21 before 21 list; let me know what you'd add to yours, or whether you've done anything I'm hoping to do :)

Health & Beauty
Lose another 20lbs (or reach a weight at which I'm genuinely happy)
Stop biting my nails
Quit smoking
Get my hair in good condition (no more split-ends or hairs falling out all the time!)

Blogging
Reach 100 followers on Bloglovin (I'm currently on 6) & 10,000 page views
Attend a Bloggers meet-up or event
Get a proper blog layout

Friends & Family
Arrange my 21st birthday celebrations with friends
Have an amazing time in Amsterdam with S
Look for flats/houses with S and save for our deposit

Hobbies
Read and review one new book each week (0/19)
Watch and review one new film each week (0/19)
Cook or bake something new each week (0/19)

Financial
Save £600 towards Amsterdam & flat deposit (currently saved £85)
Do not go overdrawn or miss any card payments or bills

Material Matters
Buy a good camera
Treat myself to a Kindle Fire HD
Buy or create one item each week for our new home (0/19)

The Boring Stuff
Pass my theory & practical driving test
Find a job that meets my needs, e.g. hours, income, challenging
Pass first module (The Arts: Past and Present) with a minimum overall score of 70%

I plan to update you all once a month to let you (and me!) know how I'm progressing.

Lots of love, Becci xo

Friday, 7 June 2013

33. Films // My Top Three

I fancied doing something a little different today as I have no recipes, film reviews or lifestyle posts in mind, so I thought I'd list my three favourite films.

I love these personal posts as I feel they're a good way to get to know someones personality and something about them and, to be honest, if you're reading someones blog - it's nice to know whose life you're reading about!

I'm a huge movie fan. When I was younger my favourite videos included The Fox & The Hound and The Swan Princess. Cartoons were my absolute favourite! Over the years, my film tastes have ranged from rom-coms to action to horror, and now they're a bit of a mixed bag!

1. The Last of the Mohicans


History (in particular the history of native American's in the United States) is my absolute passion. It's a huge interest of mine and it's also what I'm studying at university, with the intention of becoming either a history writer or history teacher.

This 1992 film is, as you probably guessed from the name, about native Americans and tells the story of of a tribe of 'Indians' and a group of British; it's a tale of romance, tragedy and honour. It's got a brilliant cast including Daniel Day-Lewis and has one of the best soundtracks in a film ever (seriously, ever). 

You are guaranteed to shed a tear through this film as parts of the story is devastatingly sad and yet very true to life. 

2. Bridesmaids

Admittedly, this 2011 film is a big contrast to the above movie! I love comedy films and this one is top of the list for me. Although it initially sounds like a soppy rom-com, it is so much more than that and it's not too girly - there are even some 'poo' scenes involved.

The film tells the story of one (hilarious) woman in the lead up to her (also hilarious) bestfriends wedding. There are a lot of 'issues' a long the way, and nothing really seems to go to plan... I know it's so cheesy and so American but it really is a 'laugh-a-minute.'

I've watched this movie a million times and I could watch it a million more. No matter how many times I've seen it, certain lines make me laugh every time and Kristen Wiig is just absolutley hilarious. I think girls everywhere can relate to certain characters or moments in this film!

3. Inglourious Basterds


Besides the fact that this 2009 film stars Brad Pitt *swoon* this film is undoubtedly in my top 3! Again as it's - albeit loosely - based on historical fact, it was instantly up there on my 'must watch' list and I wasn't disappointed!

Quentin Tarantino is an absolute legend of film-making and this film doesn't let him down. The storyline is amazing and there are so many moments of humour thrown in too. Christopher Waltz is also absolutely incredible as a Nazi 'Jew hunter.' Although it is a gory watch (seriously, do NOT watch this film if you're squeamish) there is also romance in there too.

Awesome. That's the best word to describe it.

So, what do you think of my film choices?
Have you seen any of them yourself?

Love,
Becci xox

Thursday, 6 June 2013

32. Reading // The Boy in the River by Richard Hoskins

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love reading. I find it very therapeutic and calming but, at the same time, invigorating and I'm always sort of proud when I finish a book - especially a good one.

Today I'm going to be reviewing a wonderful book that I've just finished reading. This is going to be part of a weekly series of book reviews; I'm going to try to read one new book (not including books that I have to read as part of my degree) each week and, whether it's good or bad, review it on here. 

Bare in mind that this is my first ever (!!) book review and, therefore, it's not the best and I've probably missed out loads of important stuff and rambled on about other not-so-important details, but I hope you like it nonetheless. 

The Boy in the River, by Richard Hoskins



The book I'll be reviewing this week is the 2012 non-fiction publication, 'The Boy in the River' by Richard Hoskins. I was recommended this book by my mum who read and loved it, and I managed to track it down in my local library.

The book tells the true story of Richard Hoskins, professor of African Cultures, who helped the London Metropolitan police with many of their investigations into child cruelty, particularly those stemming from African religious rituals. 

The narrative ranges from the 1980's right up until 2012 and is set in Bath, London, Glasgow and Devon as well as the Congo and Nigeria, as the story progresses. The main focus of the narrative is the shocking story of 'Adam,' the nameless, faceless torso that was found, mutilated, in the Thames in 2001. 

The story also intertwines the controversial and heart-breaking issue of kindoki which is not only a problem in mainland Africa, but also in Britain too. Hoskins touches upon other 'ritualistic' killings or periods of torture which have taken place in the U.K. within recent years, such as the case of 'Child B' and the murder of Kristy Bamu, both of which hit the headlines of British tabloids. 

Kindoki is a difficult issue to grasp as, amongst various African sub-cultures, it is viewed very differently. Generally speaking, my understanding of 'kindoki' is that it is an evil spirit which can possess people, in particular - as many believe - children. There was a recent documentary on the BBC called 'Branded a Witch' which focused on the mistreatment, torture and - sometimes - murder, of children who have been accused of witchcraft or of being possessed by kindoki. You can watch the full documentary here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYZmQzibB8A

Throughout the novel, Hoskins describes his time spent in Nigeria and the Congo; raising and losing his own family, the people he meets, his experiences and the lessons he learns, and links this brilliantly to the 'present day' sections of the novel. Hoskins draws upon his experiences in Africa to help the investigation into the brutal murder of 'Adam.'

I don't want to give away too much of the story as it really is worth reading for yourself, so all I can say is that it is truly shocking, heart-breaking and incredibly moving. When I read this book, I was so glad (in the nicest way possible) that I have no children of my own, as I don't think I would have been able to finish the book as it is just such a horrible story, and true, which makes it so much sadder.

Even if you don't feel that this story appeals to you, I really would urge you to look into the topics that this book highlights. 

Love,
Becci xox

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

31. Fashion // High-Street Wishlist

Hey guys!


Today's post is a little different, for me at least, as it focuses on fashion! Having had a snoop around the shops in town today with a friend, I was inspired to make a little high-street wishlist. Everything on my wishlist is under £25 (!)



Apologies for the poor quality images - I just had to make this into a collage quickly using iPiccy.com as I'm not really up to date with photo editing and blog layouts yet!

1. Turqoise Chiffon Split Maxi Dress, £19.99, New Look
I've been looking for a maxi dress for ages and I've finally found one that I really love. The colour of this dress is beautiful, so fresh and summery, and the chiffon fabric is light and cool. A must-have, teamed with a denim jacket, for a meal out or a few drinks in a beer garden.

2. Blue Polka Dot Midi Skirt, £24, Dorothy Perkins
Having tried this skirt on in-store today, I have fallen in love with this 50's style skirt! I'm not a big fan of polka dots but this skirt is such a lovely shape & style that the print doesn't faze me! This could be worn with a plain vest and some strappy sandals for a laid-back summer look.

3. Cutwork Detailed Sunglasses, £7, F+F @ Tesco
There's nothing worse than having to walk around squinting or constantly having the mirror down when you're in the car, so sunglasses are a must-have for this time of year! I don't really suit glasses but rounder shaped ones are better for me and I love these retro-style sunglasses from Tesco, of all places!

4. Limited Gold Geo Cut Out Chain Necklace, £14.99, New Look
I'm a huge fan of the art deco period and this gorgeous necklace definitely has an air of 1920s glamour to me! It's a statement necklace so I'd team it with a low-cut dress to draw attention upwards. 

5. Graphica Shopper, £7, Dorothy Perkins
I love this quirky shopper bag; the print is gorgeous and it would go with most outfits. The price is also a major benefit as it's so cheap! Perfect for carrying around picnic food or towels for the beach, along with all your other summer-time essentials.

6. Black Tribal Print Stud Pocket Trousers, £16.99, New Look
I'm not really a trousers kind of girl, I tend to live in skirts, dresses and - occasionally - jeans, but I've been looking for some printed trousers for a while now and I stumbled across this striking pair on New Look's website. I love the print and think they'd look fab teamed with a white vest, sunglasses and some sandals, or dressed up with a black vest and heels for a night out!

7. Light Wash Denim Shirt, £20, Dorothy Perkins
I tried this casual shirt on in-store today and loved it immediately. It's a really flattering shape whether it's fastened or left open over a vest. I think it'd be great for days out in the sun as it's nice and casual, yet stylish, and very light-weight.

8. Gold Leaf Head Band, £2.99, New Look
Headbands are all the range right now and personally I'm loving the flowery garlands, however, I couldn't find one for a sensible price so I was over the moon when I spotted this dainty, golden head band online. It's beautiful with intricate details too, gorgeous.

9. Purple and Orange Double Dip Dye Vest, £9.99, New Look
I'm loving the dip-dye trend and the bright, summery colours in this vest make it absolute perfect! I think this colourful top would look brill with denim shorts or, on a colder day, a pair of jeans and a jacket! Ideal for any occasion.

What do you think of my wishlist?
Is there anything you own/want?

Lots of love,
Becci xox

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

30. Reading // My Favourite Blogs

Afternoon lovelies, I've decided to write about a few of my current favourite blogs today! As I'm quite new to blogging, I've spent the last couple of months discovering a huge variety of blogs, ranging from fashion and beauty to mental health to lifestyle, cooking and travel

In this post I'm going to write about my seven current favourites which include lifestyle, beauty and fashion and I really hope that you enjoy reading about them and, hopefully, have a cheeky look for yourself!


Elizabeth's lovely blog has been a recent discovery of mine! I actually stumbled across her site when I first heard of the Blog Everyday in May challenge (which she organised) and has a browse through her posts. Elizabeth covers a huge range of topics from travel, cooking, fashion and thrifting. She's also a big fan of car-boot sales, much like myself, and a bit of a bargain hunter which is always good. I love Elizabeth's blog as it's full of quirky ideas and beautiful photos, definitely worth a look.


As the name suggests, this blog really is beautiful. Run by two sisters, it covers such a wide variety of topics from interior decor, craft ideas, recipes and even some fashion & beauty thrown into the mix too. My boyfriend and I are hoping to move into our own place either this year or next and therefore I love looking for cute and quirky decor ideas and A Beautiful Mess is the ideal place for this! I've yet to try any of them for myself yet but I definitely will be and, as for the recipe ideas, even just the photographs are enough to get your mouth watering!


I absolutely love Dannie's blog! For me, it's mainly the way that she writes that draws me in. I find Dannie's product reviews to be very funny and, although she includes a lot of information (especially regarding whether the products she tries out are cruelty free), I never find it a bore to read through. There's a lot of humour in her posts and I think she's very honest about the products she tries. Also, there's so many high-street brands mentioned on her blog that I don't feel ridiculously envious (as I do with many other beauty bloggers who seem to be able to spend a small fortune on products!) and know that, if something on Dannie's blog takes my fancy, I can go out and get it too!


A fellow Northerner, Kayleigh's blog is amazing. I am pretty much in awe of Kayleigh's entire wardrobe and contents of her dressing table! Much like Dannie, Kayleigh uses a lot of high-street brands too so it's not out of reach for the everyday girl who loves make-up! Kayleigh's photographs are beautiful and she often features OOTD/OOTN posts which are fun to read and pick up outfit ideas from. I also love how she includes little snippets of her daily life into the mix too so, as you read through her product reviews, you feel like you're getting to know Kayleigh herself as well.


I've only recently discovered plus size blogs and George's is by far my absolute favourite. Not only is she gorrrrgeous (seriously!) but she writes about a lot of topics which I can relate to. I always have issues shopping for bras and for dresses as I'm 'big on top,' and always felt really self-conscious of being a little larger than everyone else; not only in terms of bra-size, but all over, but thanks to George (and many others) blogs I don't feel like that anymore. George proves that you can find clothes to flatter a larger, bustier, hour-glass figure without having to rob a bank and that you can look gorgeous nonetheless. I really urge you to take a look at George's blog!


Laura's lovely blog incorporates little snippets of everything that I love; recipes, fashion, book reviews, lifestyle posts, beauty and lists (oh my God, I love lists) and her blog is such good fun to read through. Laura updates regularly which I also love and there always seems to be something interesting going on in her life. Just like with Dannie, I find Laura's blog to be very honest and down-to-earth which is brilliant as there's nothing worse than reading a blog and thinking 'nobody lives like that?!' and being completely unable to relate. Seriously, check out Laura's blog - you won't regret it!


Callie is another plus size blogger whose blog I really enjoy flicking through! However, Callie also includes a lot of lifestyle posts and even some recipes in her blog, which are great fun to have a nosey through. I think the main thing I love about Callie's blog is that her personality shines through; she seems to be so full of life and fun! I love reading about the events she's attended and even what she's got upto in her spare time as she includes some lovely photographs and you just wish you were there. And again, Callie shows that you don't have to be stick-thin to be sexy and that beauty really does come in all shapes and sizes. Overall, a really lovely blog about fashion, body acceptance and life.


Lots of Love,
Becci xox