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Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy God Damn Monday!!!

Just wanted to drop a blog post on you for a second.... Monday. For some of you its the word that evokes fear in you, makes you more tired and a little more ranty - well STOP RIGHT THERE!

I know Monday's aren't easy, but it is a new day for you all, a new working week, and the chance to better things in your life that perhaps are bringing you down a little bit. I know some thing's aren't perfect, but did anyone tell you on the day your were born that every day was going to be so god damn amazing and everything in this world was A-OK? Nope, didn't think so. Get with the programme peeps, Monday comes every week, at the same time - deal with it.

This weekend, I took a long hard look at myself (not easy on a no make-up day that's for sure) and realised exactly what I have around me. It was all spurned on by a group of certain people: Karleen Smith - who quite frankly is the most positive person I know and always manages to make me see sense. she also writes a pretty darn amazing blog, she HERE, and also my fab neighbour, Jennie, who is such an amazing woman and I get to have her as my neighbour, I mean how lucky am I?! I have decided that I need to stop wallowing in my own pity, lets face it, its not going to help me, or my situation and it also means I can stop moaning at all you lovely people (your ears can breathe a sigh of relief)

I have started cycling to work again, which on average is about  3-4 miles each way, and yes I know it's not much, but a little bit of exercise in the morning is amazing and to top it all, I feel so good about me, it helps when you sing to Michael Jackson at 7am to no-one at all! As well as doing this, I shall be running in the evenings every other day and par-taking in a work out DVD. I am trying out Davina's Body Buff DVD as quite frankly, it is a little bit of awesome. Targeting specific areas is what this DVD does best, and let me tell you, I sure as hell need that (I will be doing a full review shortly) So my fitness plan is DONE! I am also going to be joining Nutra-Check again. This is something I joined a fair few years ago now, and is just an online food diary! simples! As a daily sufferer of crippling IBS attacks it is imperative that I get to grips with my standard of eating, and let me tell you all now - it aint good!

Something for you!
Aside from my plan to life, I'm also sending daily/weekly emails to two of my gorgeous senoritas: @avragejosephine and @katybbrap - these two girls are in the same boat as me: we all want to lose a stone and kick this years ass! The emails are going to focus on health, fitness and food, doing new things and working on you as a person! It will consist of tasks to be done, advice, motivational words and tips on making this year the best year. I don't claim to know everything in life but what I do know, is that you are a long time dead, so this coupled with my new way of thinking, I wanted to spread some of my kick-assness to people. The first email has already gone out, and if anyone would like in on this email, do drop me a line on: sarahs_scribbles@yahoo.co.uk Sbject: Drop a stone and Kick-Ass and I will add you and include you in on this road to life full of fun! What have you got to lose huh!?

Well, that's my preaching done for today! Tell me, how are you feeling this Monday????

Sunday, 22 January 2012

An Ode to.... the scales of doom

I'm pretty sure that every time I pass the bathroom, I can hear the dulcet tones of the Funeral March drifting from 'them'. The sheer thought of 'them' evokes fear into me and its enough to get my clothes off even in the most freezing of mornings. What am I talking about? The bathroom scales.

This is my ode to you....

Oh, how on a Monday, instead of looking forward to the beginning of a new working week, I tip toe into the same room as you and just hope you don't notice me. I can feel your steely screen glaring at me as I stand there rubbing sleep from my eyes, yeah, I'm not looking at you. Maybe if I avoid all kinds of eye contact you wont notice me or start your gravitational pull. The curious cat side of me thinks that maybe, just maybe, if I put my big toe on you, you will magically give me the figure that I so desperately want, cos y'know, obviously, my big toe's weight is the equivalent of my entire body, right? ..... right???oh no, you are far too clever for any of those shenanigans. Every other day, the same sequence goes, we try to ignore each other, or should I say I avoid you, but not the other way round, nope. Every day you taunt me 'come on Sarah, just a small step, a teeny tiny step on me and your fate will be revealed' Why do you do that?

Like the person I am, I cant ignore you and your continuous taunts, you are way too persuasive for me. You promise me success: success that the figure that appears on your smooth looking digital display, is exactly what I had been hoping for. You have this power to make me happy, sad, jovial or god damn depressed - you have that undenying power to pretty much make or break my day/week/month or any god damn special occasion I might hope to attend. When you show me something good, I love you. I love you to the point where I'd happily strap you to my chest and walk around displaying your screen like some sort of 'weight sandwich board' - 'Look at me, look how much I weigh, my scales love me' but most of the other times, you hate me and well, to put it bluntly, I hate you.

And so goes the daily ritual: every time before I dare to step on your cold glass surface, I take every single god damn piece of clothing off: anything that is remotely removable on my body, it's-a-coming-off. Trust me, if I had false teeth, a wig and limbs I could remove... I would. There really is nothing more horrendous than the way you look up at me when I'm stood there as nude as the day I was born.... we both know you're not going to tell me something I want to hear right!? and so the story begins and ends, day in day out, and anytime of day or night, you're there, ready, waiting for me. You are the bain of my life and that is why, you are going in the bin.

And on your gravestone is shall read: 2012 - the year I said goodbye to the scales.

I loved to hate you.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Book's I've been reading....

I haven't posted a book review in while - work, and well, life, has pretty much got in the way of me ever finishing a book. After continuously looking over at the ever bulging box of books in the corner of my bedroom, I decidedthat I was going to make a conscious effort to read more - I've been taking a book to work to read in my lunch break, and guess what? it's working!

Anyway, here goes a couple of reviews of the books I've read:

'Twelve Days of Christmas' - Trisha Ashley

Forgive me for transporting you all back to December and well, Christmas, but I read this one at the start of December, mainly to help me get into the Festive spirit, and did it? The answer is yes. This book was everything I needed and then some, to get me well n truly feeling like Mrs Claus. Focusing around character Holly Brown, who is not a fan of the holiday season, take on a house sitting job with a difference. I wont give too much away, but what starts as Holly, putting off feelings, emotions and embracing the spirit, ends with a new woman being born before our eyes. What I enjoyed most about the way Trisha Ashley writes is her attention to the main characters surroundings. Descriptions of landscapes, the weather, and general observations, really do put you, the reader, into Holly's place. When the weather got bad and cold - I felt cold. When the thaw began, my heart thawed. The characters are relateable and friendly, and despite most of the story being predictable from the beginning there was a  few twists and turns to keep you guessing. Keep an eye out for the descriptions of the animals - probably one of my favourite things about the book: I now want a dog and a horse!
Overall, this is a jolly good read - in fact, at times I could not put it down. Easy going, easy to read and simple. Creating atmospheres just by use of words is a hard thing to do, but Ashley does it well.

'Miracle of Regent Street' - Ali Harris

Keeping in with the Festive season, next up was this first novel, 'Miracle on Regent Street' by writer Ali Harris. I loved this book from the initial blurb - main character Evie Taylor is relateable and I instantly recognised myself in her. As a young woman living in London, with the dreams of starting a new life, Evie Taylor doesn't have it easy. With her life going from mundane to plain boring in the space of a few days, her life seems to stand still: being stuck in a dead end job, living with family and mending a broken heart - Evie's life is not how she expected it to turn out. The storyline moves along nicely, and what is especially great with this book, is how close the reader gets to all the characters involved, and more importantly, to Hardy's. A shop with a history and a life source for Evie, Hardy's is a real  home from home but with the news out that this source of love being closed, Evie starts to come to life. With some real laugh out loud moments and at times 'slap yourself on the forehead', this really is a top notch read. The finishing touches with the description of Hardys is second to none and often so hard to achieve on a first novel. The main character, Evie, makes this book what it is, I love her and I think all of us women can see something of ourselves in the way Ali writes about Evie. Setting the scene perfectly for the time of year and twisting towards the end, this was a perfect read from a first novel. I couldn't have asked for better. P.s Keep your eyes peeled for the shop lo-down right at the back!

What books are you reading?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Recipes: Coffee and Walnut / any kind of nut cake...

This weekend I went baking crazy! With thanks to Mary Berry and the Great British Bake-Off Sport Relief I decided to indulge my inner domestic - cake - Goddess and bake my own version of Mary's classic, her Coffee and Walnut cake.

A traditional favourite, my mum used to make this for us as kids, and I loved it even from a young age (yes, my caffeine addiction started young) it brings back great memories for me, and at the age of 28, I have avoided making one of these cakes as I was slightly worried, it would never be as good as mum made! but after watching (read this as dribbling) people bake this very cake, I decided to give it a go!

Mary Berry's Coffee and Walnut Cake

* Please note, that I made a few changes to the original recipe, so will use these instead of the original. If you want to follow Mary Berry's recipe, a full copy cam be found HERE *


100g/4oz soft butter or baking spread

100g/4oz caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
100g/4oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g/2oz chopped walnuts, but if like me you don't have enough - any nut will do
2 tbsp coffee mixed with water - you can add more or less, pretty much depends on how strong you like your cawfee!
Icing and Filling:
200g butter

2-300g icing sugar
1tsp coffee mixed with a mere spattering of water

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and Grease and line the bases of two sandwich tins with baking parchment. Mine measured about 18cm - this is not essential.

2. Add your butter and caster sugar and beat together till light, fluffy and smooth. If you're doing this by hand (like me) this is a tres good arm workout - PHEW!

Chop your selection of nuts into smaller, bitesize pieces - this can be done as rough as you like. Once all smooth, add all the other ingredients: eggs, flour, baking powder, your chopped nuts and coffee / water mix.
Beat all of these together until well combined and mixed.

3. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and gently spread out with a spatula or palette knife. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until an inserted knife / skewer comes out clean. Allow to stand for five - ten minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and turning onto a wire rack to cool.

4.For the filling and topping, beat the butter and gradually add the icing sugar. When all the icing sugar is added, add your coffee mix, only a bit at a time!! I made the mistake of adding too much first time and err it was beyond runny! and beat until smooth.

5.When the cakes have completely cooled, spread half the coffee icing on one cake and squish together with the other half.

6. Ice the top of the cake with the remaining coffee icing and decorate with more chopped nuts. I ended up bashing the nuts into smaller sprinkling by grinding with the pestle and mortar.

Then Ta-Da! Traditional cakey goodness! 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

HotSquash - Clothes getting technical

I'd heard a little about HotSquash around the Twitter rumour mill, and my first thought was well, hot squash... as in hot blackcurrant squash.. Mmmm, one of my faves. However, upon poking my nose into others conversations did I stumble upon the 'new' technical clothing company HotSquash.

By 'technical' I mean science-y, and something that you probably never considered clothes to be. Science in clothing to me, pretty much means getting the size right, but no, HotSquash is a brand of clothing that works with your body to keep you warm and cool. Interesting huh?

Thermal clothing for the Winter season have been about for well, donkey's years. But some are a little less glamorous and not wearable at.all. Most of the time, Thermal wear is restricted to thick fabrics in underwear, which, to be honest, defeats the object of keeping the body warm, if all your doing is keeping your bum cheeks warm - not helpful. HotSquash is so different - its beautiful, stylish, versatile and oh so wearable - I literally would not have known it was thermal just by looking at it. The Winter collection uses  THERMOLITE ® and ISOLWOOL ® fabrics for enhanced warmth, and on the Summer season, the fabrics incorporates COOLMAX® and Thermo Cool ™ fabrics to ensure you stay cool. Simples huh?

With the weather all of a sudden getting god damn icy freezing (no exaggeration) and the frost setting in, I just had to try it out for myself. The lovely people at PushPR saw my 'I'm freezing' tweets and offered me the amazing chance to trial the Winter collection myself - and I was not disappointed.... at all. The fabric was comfy and not itchy like I first thought and may I also add, that it was jolly nice to have a top that wasn't cut so damn short that it was pretty much like a crop top (don't want to be getting a chill now) There was a particular 'tightness' about the fabric which was interesting. It was nice in some ways: I mean I felt 'held in' and I think it helped to make me warmer, but it also made me feel slightly rotund, as the size 12 came up quite small - normally I am a 10. The design and colour was just lush - I didn't feel 'fuddy duddy' at all, and no-one asked if I was wearing a thermal top.

I trialled the 'Waterfall' top, priced at £45.99 and well, I think it is superb value for money. It looks lush and time for the elusive question: does it keep me warm? yes, yes and well, yes. There are some other amazing style of tops, dresses and trousers - all made in the same 'warm' thermal fabrics - perfect for this season. what I love most is its versatility - here is how I wore mine for both the office and weekend.

*'Waterfall top: HotSquash, Jacket: Topshop, Black skinny trousers: Next, Black Patent boots: Clarks, Chunky Necklace: Primark*

For the office, I picked neutral and smart accessories. Team the 'Waterfall' top with some clean lines with black skinny trousers, silk blazer rolled up at the sleeves, some shiny black patent boots, and matt black chunky necklace - this is comfy, smart and easily worn and warm - no excessive layers here!

*'Waterfall top: HotSquash, Waterfall cardigan: Tesco, Skinny Jeans: Sainsbury's, Boots: Jones the bootmakers, Metal link necklace: Primark, chain bracelet: Topshop*

For the weekend, I chose something that every single one of us could wear. Simple jeans, which are a weekend staple in my eyes, a long, but thin grey marl waterfall cardigan and some classic brown stack heel boots. Add in a chunky necklace and chain bracelet and you have the perfect outfit for the shops or even for coffee out with the girls.

Personally, I love HotSquash, it going to become a firm member of my wardrobe - stylish and functional are two of my favourite words.

Go check out HotSquash HERE

*Even though I was given this top to trial, all opinions are my own, and yes, I genuinely loved*

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The 'Very' best of friends......

I have strong views about these celeb-filled collections for various well known brands, I find them dull, boring and un-inventive, and most of all, un-wearable. However the only, and I mean this hand on my heart, the only, celeb collections that ever catch my eye is from Very. The Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby collection really do seem like a match made in heaven.

It is well documented that both Holly and Fearne are the best of mates, and yes, if I could have a dream, girls night in, they would be the two girlies I'd be telling to bring the wine and SATC boxset round. Not only are they genuine best friends, I cant help but idolise both their styles. Now, I know they are not the 'high fashion' people most people write about, or grace the covers of Vogue - but to me, they are realistic. Fearne covets the rock-chick, fierce and different side within me. If I could look half as decent as her in skinnies, boyfriend fit jumpers and mannish brogues, I'd be a ruddy rich woman that's for sure. Now Holly, well, well, well, I have the biggest crush on her - look at her body for lords sake, shove her in a brown paper bag and whit woo, she is looking fly. With this new season, SS12, coming along thick and fast, the new Very collections from both Fearn and Holly are quite frankly - LUSH. Wearable, achievable and beautiful - I love them. So what if I want to look exactly like both of them and what do you mean I don't? What do you think?

Both Dresses: £59.00

Leopard print wrap dress £39.00 Chiffon tea dress £49.00

Peter pan collar dress £49.00, Bow Knitted dress £39.00

Tulip lace dress £69.00, Chiffon skirt dress £49.00

Lace trim blazer £49.00, Bird print dress £49.00

Floral tunic dress £49.00, Zip detail jumpsuit £39.00

Vintage style skater dress £39.00, Heart jumper £29.00

As well as being a self-proclaimed girl fan of both Holly and Fearne, I also happen to love these clothes as they are, not necessary because they are in them, even though they are both kinda awesome.

Go check them out at the Very website HERE

Do you like celeb collaborations? What's your fave?

Wednesday's Thought........

The feeling of being with nature: seeing, breathing and touching...

A feeling you can't describe

Monday, 9 January 2012

Monday's Must-Have Purchase: Dark Horse

To say I love a good statement necklace, is quite frankly, an understatement. They are the one thing I turn to every day. Not only will a fat, chunky necklace glam up even the most boring of outfits, they are guaranteed to be a conversation starter. I fell onto Dark Horse by accident through goggle, and ruddy hell, am I glad I did. Created using the finest leathers and various textiles these necklaces pretty much speak for themselves. I also think the colour choices on these two, are going to transport you right into the forefront of SS12 - think hot summers days by the beach, a Latino vibe and colour popping everywhere. Priced at £61.50 these have to be a must-buy in the run up to the new seasons.

Go check out the website HERE

Sunday, 8 January 2012

On the road again...

Nope I'm not talking about road tripping somewhere, even though that does sound like a ruddy good idea. I'm talking about running. oh yes, that again, (did I just hear you yawn?) well New Year, and back on with the trainers it goes. After completing last year with a half marathon under my belt and discovering my love (yes, love,I am that sick) for the humble 'putting one foot in front of the other' running malarky, I have set myself some new goals.

On April 1st I am set to kick my home town, Reading, ass in its Half marathon. Along with the gorgeous Kerry Warnes (@rockdiva1976) and formidable Jo Gifford (Dexdiva) we are taking this bad boy on, with an aim to rock it. I cant deny, I am well 'n' truly cacking it. It has been a long time since the last (and my only) half mara, but this time it wont be as Team Bangs either. The rest of the girls are going to be kicking Berlin's ass, which just so happens to fall on the same day, so yeah the Team Bangs spirit will be there with me, but this time its different. I know I can do it (I hope) but this time I want to do it in under 2 hours. My time in London last year was 2 hours 11 minutes, so somewhere, I've gotta shave some time off - yeah.. good one.

Running aint easy, and never will be, I pretty much want to find any old excuse to not run, even though, when I'm out there I sodding love it. But even now, I still struggle. This is yet another journey I feel the need to present myself with, and with an aim to complete another half marathon this year (would love to do three, yes three) and two 10K's I just hope my will, and my body will take me through.

So, who wants to do this with me? anyone? no, I still cant hear you. But in all seriousness, I think its so important to keep shouting about running - I want all you ladies, to get out there, for a jog, and jog/walk session - you will amaze yourself - where there is a will, there is a way. Do it for you, and only you, I promise you, you can do it. I will be posting about the running trials and tribulations through this years journey, and my official half mara training gets under way as of tomorrow. So please, do think about getting out there - I'll be so proud of you.

Thank you and good night.

New Season Shade Inspiration: The grown up pink

I'm bored with Winter and I'm bored with the colours. For me, everything was just a little bland and well, a bit 'blah' this Winter. Granted, there was some sublime animal print chucked into the colour mix, and we all mixed things up with textures - leaning close to furs, bobbly wool and brushed velvets, but to me, everything was a little nondescript.

I am dreaming of 2012 in a whole new light - I want vibrancy, I want grown up colours. I wanna stand out, I wanna mix things up. Enter the colour pink. I don't know about you, but when I think of the colour pink, I get immediately transported to the little girl I once was, when everything had to be baby pink and fluffy. It was the kinda pink that would even make you teeth hurt. However, with age and time gone by, pink has well n truly grown up for me. No longer do I crave the sickly sweet tones of baby candyfloss pinks - no, the grown -up pink I want is hot, its spicy, its shocking and eye catching - this is Barbie, but on speed.

The variations are endless: Magenta, Coral, Scarlet, even fluoro pinks, and the best thing about this colour is it's diversity. You can happily team hot pink with pretty much any colour - even clashing oranges and red's cause quite a stir without looking wrong. Designer label, Preen have been pulling out the hot pink stops, and created some amazing hot pinks and red dress combo's that are so wrong, they really shouldn't be this right. If wearing head to toe pink is just not 'you' then team it with black - go stripey on a jumper - Whistles have a fab one, or go for some slouchy hot pink palazzo pants which not only hide a multitude of sins but teaming them with a grass green top, shoes or bag, you can positively sizzle in the run up to the new seasons. This is one new season shade, that really is like fire for the soul.

1-Hot Pink stripe bikini £30 Topshop, 2-Hot pink skull ring £10 Topshop, 3- Hot Pink Ballet Pumps £16 Topshop, A5 notebook £5.25 Paperchase, 5-Marc Jacobs Laptop case £45 Net-a-porter, 6- Nail Varnish 'Shoreditch' £11 NailsIncww.nailsinc.com, 7-Karlstead Armchair £199 Ikea, 8-Silk Miu Miu Bow top £365 Net-a-porter,9-Stare 2 Platforms £50 Tophop, 10-Lacoste Rubber Watch £60 ASOS

What do you think of pink as a colour? Do prefer baby pink to hot pink? and will you be wearing it this year in 2012?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

An ode to.... The red lippie........

This morning I woke up after approx 4 hours sleep, my eyes felt like I'd been stung by hundreds of wasps and quite frankly made me resemble that of a pig. My hair was stuck up so high and ratted it looked like I'd spent a year in the bush outside my house, my entire body ached like that of a 80 year old, my skin as dry as a boot and my mouth as dry as Gandhi's flip flop, oh yes, this morning was not my finest hour. You know that moment when you stare at yourself for a good 5minutes just trying as hard as you can to take in the face that stands before you. Exactly how much make-up am I going to have to shove on today eh? Do you think its possible to sweep the hair so far over one side of my head that it'd disguise the tired, spotty mess I see before me? Probably not... think bad toupee.

However, this morning, a little brain wave came to me, there was one small, solitude item that could save my day, yeah , this ode is to you, the humble red lipstick.

Your bright shiny casing is like a little ray of sunshine on a dark dismal morning. I love the way I can always spot you in the bottom of my make-up pile, always reliable, always shining bright. A quick, one coat slick, and well well well, Claudia Schiffer eat your ruddy heart out, for I am hotter than you. A quick purse of the lips, a quick glance in the mirror and I am ready to take on that world. I am the pure sex right here, right now in my moth eaten pj's - I reckon I could rule the god damn world.

O' Red lippy, you make me wanna slap my lips together in a loud smooch at every opportunity, you make me wanna dress to the nines, attend those high powered business meetings, attend those glitzy parties.. but most of all, it is the way you make me feel invincible all the time, even in those cotton flannel pj's... there's nothing wrong walking round the house in them and full lippy is there?!

As I step out the door, the sky is brighter, the air if fresher. The walk to the car had me strutting and smizing like a real supermodel, walking past mirrors I can hardly believe my eyes - that's me! When asked questions at work, you make me feel more intelligent. People smile at me, doors open for me, and more of all, those big bad tired eyes of mine are long gone.

Red lippie? I love you.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Wednesday's Thought...........

That moment when you wake up, taking the time to enjoy your first cup of tea and breakfast, dreamy.....

I plan on doing this more often....

*images courtesy of weheartit.com*

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

That, again...

Hello, hello.... oh yes, that time has come. Another New Year *does jazz hands* and along with it comes the same old resolutions: I will diet, I will eat more healthy, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. I have been there and quite frankly,done.it.all. and I am never going to spend another year like it. Last year, I set myself some pretty adventurous and quite frankly stupid resolutions. There was, noway in hell, I was ever going to do any of them - why did I even put them down, why? Because I have spent pretty much all of my god damn adult years focusing on all the negatives, the bad things that I need to change, when, to be honest, hate to sound full of myself, but I really don't need to change anything. The key to a resolution is to improve.

My life is not perfect but most of it is pretty darn awesome. This year I will still be aiming to get fitter etc, but I am going to build on this amazing body I already have. I'm no size 8, but I can run when I ruddy well want too, I will improve myself in so many ways and build on the amazing blocks I have been given. I urge you people, think before telling yourself you will climb Mount Everest, run twenty marathons or go and win the lottery. Be realistic with your goals and you will achieve them , I promise you, you will.

Think positive, breath deeply, smile towards the sky and look around at what you have already. Improve.

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