COOKBOOK // Chicken & Vegetable Soup // 250 - 350 Cals

Right, a very different post to normal, but I've started following a sugar free diet recently and generally just not eating processed food so I wanted to start posting up some of the things I've been making, and hopefully it will give me an incentive to work a bit harder. I gave up smoking around 2 years ago and since then have gained around 2 stone in total so I'm on a mission to lose it through healthy eating and exercising, I've always eaten pretty healthily but I tend to purge on chocolate and snacks more so since I stopped smoking, almost as a reward for not smoking which has led to the increase in weight. I don't particularly calorie count but I'm aware of them and will avoid anything with huge calories in them, instead looking at healthier options. For example, I've started making a sugar free Apricot Flapjack and will have a little bit of this instead of chocolate at night when I'm relaxing. I've been reading the James Duigan Clean & Lean Series of books and this is what has spurred me onto this kind of lifestyle. It really does make you think about what you put in your body.

Today's post is going to be Chicken and Vegetable soup, this works out at about 250 calories per person but because you add in the Creme Fraiche, it feels quite creamy and like you're having something a bit naughtier. It's packed full of veg and you can really experiment with this as well by adding in other veg that you prefer, I'd possibly add in Courgettes and Leek if I had, I hate mushrooms but they would probably work well in this too and if there's any veg you don't like you can take these out.

I'm quite a random cook and don't measure or count things out so measurements are approximate, I will try and be a little more exact in future if you prefer it. I find the fun thing about cooking is throwing in things that don't work (Mange Tout and Baby Corn in this soup is a little random but I love the crunch it gives the soup) or adding a little extra of your favourite.

Let me know if you make this and if you like these posts or if you want to hear more about anything.

Soph x

Chicken & Vegetable Soup


Chicken Breast Fillets (250g)
Garlic ( 1 Clove)
Onion (1 Medium)
Carrots (4 Medium)
New Potatoes (8-10) (Around 300g)
Celery (2 Stalks)
Mange Tout (About half a pack) (40-50g)
Baby Corn ( About half a pack) (40-50g)
Chicken Stock Cube (1 - 2)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Heat up some oil in a pan on a high heat (I use coconut oil, around a full teaspoon, but you can use whatever you like here) along with the chopped up garlic clove and salt and pepper. You want the oil to be able to coat all the veg you are about to add into the pan so start off with a little and add more if anything starts to stick.
2. Chop up the Onion, Celery, Carrot, New Potatoes and Baby Corn into small pieces, around the same size.
3. Add the Onion, Carrot & Celery into the pan, let these cook on high for a minute or two before lowering the heat to around half, cook down until the onion turns a translucent colour. 
3. Whilst the Onion, Celery & Carrot are cooking, Chop up your Chicken using a separate chopping board (Raw Chicken is not good and shouldn't be mixed with uncooked food). I would also stick on a full kettle at this point and let it boil.
4. Whilst the kettle boils, keep an eye on the pan and give it a good stir. 
5. Once the kettle has boiled and the onions look almost clear, add around 500ml - 650ml to the pan along with the stock cube. 
7. Add the Chicken & New Potatoes and bring it to a boil before turning it down to simmer for around 45 minutes - you can change the timing here but you need to make sure the chicken is fully cooked through.
8. Add around 2-3 tablespoons of Creme Fraiche to the pot, stir quickly, it looks like it may curdle but give it a good stir and it will all melt in.
9. Around 15-20 mins before serving, add in the Baby Corn & Mange Tout, these add a bit of crunch to the soup.

Hope you enjoy.

Soph x

HAUL // Primark, H&M, Boots & Sainsburys

Bit of a random haul for you today, and I apologise in advance for the awful pictures but I was in a bit of a rush to photograph them and run for food - food ALWAYS takes preference! But anyway, onto the Haul, it is a little random and the result of a hungover wander around Cheltenham but this is what I ended up with....

Primark // £9

I'm still unsure about these, I am a Jeans girl through and through, I always reach for a pair of Jeans over anything else but I'm trying to branch out a little and loved the pattern on these so I'm hoping it will work out well with these.

Primark // £9 

As above, not my usual style but I liked the pattern and I like the idea of wearing these.

Primark // £1.50 each

Another new venture into the world of midi rings, you can tell I was feeling adventurous, but I really liked the look of these and at £1.50 I figured they were cheap enough to try out.

Primark // £2

I bought the same glasses for £20 in Topshop last year, they're a mirrored Aviator style but the lens keeps popping out so I picked these up just to keep in my bag until I can find some new ones!

H&M // £6.99

This picture does not do this top justice really, It's a striped batwing style top that i think will look really nice in the summer.

H&M // £9

These are a thin loose pant, similar to the Primark ones above but in more of a t-shirt material. I bought these because I work from home most days so it's nice to have some trousers that you can just throw on and are comfy but aren't Pajamas.

H&M // £14.99

I'm obsessed with Pajamas and in particular Set Pajamas like this with shorts & a shirt, they're my favourite kind and I have a few sets from Topshop but they're normally quite hard to find, these are actually really nice and a good fit, they have a blue version that I'm tempted to go back for.

Boots // £8.99

I picked this up on a bit of a whim, I hadn't heard much about it and I quite like it, my only issue so far is that it's a really dark colour, I got it in Ivory which is the second lightest shade but it's really orange which is a shame because I love the formula. I'll do a full review of this soon once I've had a chance to fully try it out.

Boots // £7.99

This is my current favourite mascara, I'll do a full review soon but it gives me length and volume which is my kinda mascara.

Sainsburys // £2.99

This note pad was too pretty not to get, gold and baby pink = win.

So, that's everything, random but i'm happy with it all.

Soph x

REVIEW // Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye

This was a real impulse purchase, I hadn't researched it, I hadn't heard much about it, I'm not really sure what pulled me in to buy it to be honest but I am pretty smitten with this now - The Kiehls Midnight Recovery eye cream claims to reveal younger looking eyes by the morning, it is blended using Butcher’s Broom, Squalane, Evening Primrose and Lavender - are Butchers Broom and Squalane not the best names ever?! - the Lavender is definitely quite prominent when applying this which is adds a nice relaxing element as well when applying in the evening and one of the key things that drew me in was the fact that it looked like quite a natural line up in the ingredients, I'm a lot more aware of what I'm putting on my skin these days so the mention of essential oils and botanicals sucked me in. This also claims to be paraben free, fragrance free and mineral oil free as well which is always nice and while it may be fragrance free, there is a mix of essential oils in this, so I think they mean that they don't add any artificial or additional fragrances to this. 

One of the key claims is that this reduces fine lines and wrinkles, which is not something that I can comment on just yet, and being 25, I don't suffer from these too badly yet but I find it particularly good at reducing dark circles and reducing puffiness (I believe this is where the butchers broom comes in).Scent wise, the only way I can describe it is a kind of creamy lavender, which is one of my favourite scents so I'm happy with that. I also like the simplicity of the packaging, a dark blue tube with gold text, looks pretty and probably helped to draw me in. It's quite a creamy moisturising formula which my skin has been craving with this crazy weather at the minute, but it blends in quite nicely so it doesn't leave the skin around the eye coated or greasy. 

I'm now hankering after the Midnight Recovery Serum, but can't quite justify splashing the cash on that just yet. 

Have you tried this, what do you think? 

Soph x

HAUL // Home Haulin' feat. Asda, IKEA & more...

I've got a little mini home haul for you today featuring a few bits that I've picked up over the past week or so. I don't tend to post up my home hauls very much, in fact I'm not sure if I ever have so if you like them, please let me know and I'll post up more because if I'm honest, I'm as addicted to buying things for my house as I am about buying makeup. So anyway, here's what I got:

Asda // £12

I couldn't resist this duvet set, I saw it on the Asda website during a bit of a random browse and then spotted that it was only £12 - I had to have it and a few days later it arrived. I love the pattern and it actually feels nice and soft to touch. 

Sainsburys // £3.50

This little brushed cotton sheet may not look like much but it was 60% (I think) off in the sale and perfectly matches the blue in the new duvet cover, I also bought the matching pillowcases and because this is brushed cotton, it's so soft and warm. I can't find it online but I've been to several Sainsburys over the weekend and spotted it in each of them so check out your local one.

Waitrose // £5

I have a serious mug obsession, it's actually a bit worrying, I particularly have an obsession with the Cath Kidston "Stanley" shaped mugs and while this isn't a Stanley shape I don't think, it's very similar, it's also Cath Kidston and I can't say no to a floral print.

Ikea // From £2

Ah, the beloved Skurar pot from IKEA, I have several of these and also picked up this big bowl here but in Red to keep my dressing table a little tidier. 

IKEA //  £2.25 & £2

I love these little candle holders, they look really pretty with a lit candle in them and are a bit of a bargain, I actually wish I'd bought a few more of these to keep around the house.

Ikea // £2.50

This is what I went to Ikea for, I love this print and have the matching bedding so I've been after these boxes for a while, they're super handy for keeping in cupboards to keep everything tidy and look pretty too. I actually bought 8 of these in the end, probably a little bit excessive as I now have 4 of them sitting empty in a cupboard. I also think these might have been £3 or £3.50. You can only get this design in store I think, I tried to find online but couldn't see them. If you don't live near an Ikea, try eBay or Amazon and search for Ikea Rosali Drona Box and you should find them

Ikea // £2.50

These candles smell AMAZING - Seriously, If you go to Ikea, pick them up, I'm a bit snobby when it comes to candles and tend to prefer more expensive ones, but these smell really good and fragrance the whole room really quickly.

British Heart Foundation // £2.99

I was having a little wander around some charity shops at the weekend and spotted this little biscuit barrel and couldn't not buy it. Way. Too. Cute.

Amazon // £16.99

These were actually bought at Christmas but the picture has somehow ended up here. I am OBSESSED with the Sugared Apple scent and have it burning pretty much every day.

Do you like Home Hauls? Shall I keep doing them. 

Hope you're all having a good week! 

Soph x

REVIEW // Bumble & Bumble Texture Hair Undressing Creme

Another impulse purchase here, this seems to be a bit of a theme at the minute, I was perusing the Christmas Sales when I spotted this Bumble & Bumble Texture Hair (Un)Dressing Creme as part of a set along with the Bumble & Bumble Thickening Hairspray, I was planning to re-purchase that anyway so this was a bit of a bonus, I think the whole set worked out at about £14/£15. This product claims that it "Gives hair that elusive, undone-yet-done quality, with a hint of grit, hold and a tousled, shine-free finish." which I have to agree with, it does say that this should be applied on damp hair but I actually prefer to use it on dry hair, I feel like I can style it how I want that way if you know what I mean. It's a creme formula, that I rub between my hands then scrunch into my hair at the roots and ends to give it a bit more volume and just some grittiness. My hair tends to be quite flat and is quite straight so I need products that give it some "ooomph" so to speak and this does just that. When I do apply this on damp hair, I find that it can be a little sticky and makes hair feel almost a little dirty, I do have quite fine hair though so I think this probably factors into that. 

I'm not overly keen on the scent, I'm not a huge fan of the bumble and bumble scents in general if I'm honest, but they are quite subtle and neutral so it's not something that overly bothers me really and wouldn't put me off re-purchasing. To use this, you actually need to twist the black lid at the bottom and the product squeezes out, it took me a while to realise this, I assumed it was just a normal, take lid off, squeeze out product kind of tube but it's not, it's actually easier this way and means you don't have to mess around with lids, just twist and squeeze and you're done. The usual RRP of this is £22 which is pretty much the norm for Bumble & Bumble products.

Have you used this? What's your favourite hair product? 

Soph x

BIRCHBOX // February 2014

I don't often post up my beauty box reviews but my birchbox arrived this month while I was typing up some posts so I think I may start doing them more frequently if people like them. I have to say that unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with this months offering, I'm normally always pretty happy with what I get each month, but this month it's just a little "meh", the only product I'll probably end up using is the Eyeko Eyeliner, the others don't really appeal to me to be honest. But anyway, here's what I got.

Beauty Protector - Protect & Oil // £16

This claims to battle UV Rays, Heat & Breakage. Looks ok, and could come in handy for holidays or nights away to throw in a bag and try.

Eyeko - Skinny Liquid Eyeliner// £12 

I'm most excited by this, I will end up using it and you can never have too many eyeliners in my opinion.

Urbanveda - Radiance Exfoliating Facial Polish // £8.99

Haven't ever heard of this before and doesn't massively appeal to me but again, because of the size, could be a good one to take away on holiday. 

Gilchrist & Soames - The London Collection Shower Gel // £13.75

Again, not for me this product, I'm quite particular with shower gels so I'll probably end up giving this one away.

Leighton Denny - Nail Colour // £11

I'm not overly keen on the colour of this polish to be honest so again, not one for me, but I'll give this away to a friend.

NOTD // Rimmel Tangy Tangerine

A little splash of colour for you on this bleak winters day - I picked this polish up last summer at the height of my orange nail polish obsession. It's a creamy neon-esque orange, the Rimmel polishes have the wide brushes which make application super easy and the formula is quite smooth which can be rare with some of the neon polishes, this was 2/3 coats with a sweep of Seche Vite over the top. I'm not feeling the winter anymore so I'm on a hunt to dig out my brighter nail polishes in a bid to combat my winter blues.

You can pick this up in Boots or Superdrug for £2.99.

What do you think of this one? 

Soph x

NOTD // Essie After School Boy Blazer & Bourjois Ghost Lovers

Another Essie After School Boy Blazer NOTD for you here following on from last week's post, this time I've paired it with Bourjois Ghost Lovers nail polish for a polka dot mani, which as you've probably guessed from this and this - these are my favourite kind of mani. I love these two colours together, I think the navy and the gold go really well together and look nice and classy. 

I also love that this is just one coat of After School Boy Blazer which makes it nice and quick but with quite a high impact. I also put this together after I chipped one of my nails hitting a door (CLEVER!) so it's also a cover up which makes me even happier! 

What do you think of this?

Soph x