Friday, 30 October 2015

Lifestyle: Alone Time

This might sound a bit odd, but I really enjoy being alone. I relish every chance I get to have some quality time to myself. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love spending time with my boyfriend, friends and family too - I just also happen to also enjoy spending time alone. 
I spend far too much of my time worrying about pleasing everyone else, that I often forget about myself, what I want and what I need. So I thought I would share with you what I like to get up to during my 'me time'. Hopefully it will inspire you to take some time out for yourself too!
Dress code.
Pyjamas win every time, pick yourself up a pair of Primark gems for ultimate me-time comfort.

Netflix and box sets galore, check out my faves here.
I also love to watch YouTube videos, my favourites are: Lily Pebbles, Vivianna Does Makeup, Tanya Burr, Anna Saccone, Nicola Whitehead, Charlotte from Lil Miss Chickas, Niomi Smart and Gemma Stafford.

Pamper.
I'm talking face masks, freshly painted nails, a long hot shower and whacking on a hair mask for super soft tresses. Bliss.

Sweat, baby sweat.
I love to workout - I usually aim for five days a week, for around 30 - 40 minutes.
I love to switch it up, be it yoga, pilates, cardio, dance, HIIT or even going out on a long walk, I like to get my body moving and that blood pumping.

Treat yoself.
Online shopping *adds everything in ASOS sale to basket*, picking up the latest issue of your favourite magazine, buying a cute notebook or bright lipstick. Whatever it may be, you deserve it! Everyone needs a little pick me up every now and then.

Indulge a little.
A couple of squares of dark chocolate, an ooey, gooey brownie, pretty cupcakes, giant cookies, pick and mix or a cheeky ice cream cone. Life is for living, if you fancy a treat have one, just don't make it an every day occurrence and balance out that brownie with a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's all about eating mindfully and having an 80/20 approach to food.

Baking.
I love to bake - from cookies, cupcakes and rocky road, to healthier treats like my banana oat muffins. I find it so therapeutic, as you can switch off from everything else and just concentrate on your bake.

Smash that to do list.
Be it that blog post you've been meaning to type up (me in a nutshell) the washing up you've been putting off, writing out your weekly shopping list or even prepping your meals for the next day. Whatever it may be, get it done! You'll feel so much more relaxed after ticking off your to do list, which leaves you time for more important tasks such as scrolling through instagram and watching countless episodes of Friends. It's a win, win really!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Alone time' post, Do you enjoy spending time solo? What are some of your favourite things to do during me-time?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Lifestyle: Birthday Snippets

*I just wanted to give you a little update. You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet on the keep calm blog front recently. I'm not taking a break or anything like that, I've just been all kinds of busy juggling work, moving house, my birthday, my boyfriends birthday and not having a computer. Sorry about that, normal posting will be resuming very soon!
Ramble over... let's get into this birthday post, there's cake!

If you follow me on social media (shameless plug right there - I've linked my Instagram and Twitter if you want to give me a cheeky follow) then you'll know that it was my 23rd birthday on Saturday!
I had the most amazing day, so I thought I would share with you some snippets from my birthday.
Birthdays can often feel 'pressured', the notion that you have to go out and do something meaningful, exciting, expensive or get horrendously drunk. But I sacked all that off for a chilled out day. 
I spent the morning with my lovely boyfriend, opening presents in our living room (we recently moved in to our own place, so it's been amazing to be able to chill out in our own home) eating a chocolatey breakfast, playing with my new presents and having my favourite smoked salmon and cream cheese wrap for lunch. 
We then drove in to town and did some shopping. I had a bit of a shopping fail, as I couldn't find anything I really wanted. But I did pick up the cosiest pair of pyjama bottoms from Primark. 
It was a great day, despite not finding anything for myself, I love mooching in shops, especially when they have all their Christmas d├ęcor in store.

After a day of shopping we headed home, where my very thoughtful boyfriend surprised me with the prettiest birthday cake. It even had 'Happy birthday Lauren' iced on top. It meant so much to me, as I had mentioned in conversation months before, that I had never had a cake on my birthday, that wasn't a supermarket one. Major boyfriend points!
It was the most delicious cake, my favourite Victoria sponge with strawberry jam and the creamiest, most heavenly butter cream. Seriously, I could have eaten the whole cake to myself.
I may have eaten a giant slab, and then another... ah well, it's only your birthday once a year eh!
I received some amazing gifts from my lovely boyfriend, friends and family, they were all so kind and thoughtful to get me something. 
I don't want to 'brag' about the gifts I received as I know there's a lot of controversy over those 'What I got for my birthday' posts and videos. But I still want to share with you some of the lovely gifts I was lucky enough to be given, I just hope you know I would never brag about anything I received. 

My lovely boyfriend completely spoilt me with a laptop! I have never owned my own computer, as I used my dad's desktop PC when I lived with him. It's amazing to have a computer that is all mine. (I'm typing this post on it right now, with a ridiculous grin on my face!)
I received a gift experience for a makeover and photo shoot, which I'm very excited about, as I've never had my make up done for me before, or had any professional pictures taken. 
A few amazing pieces from Lush, lots of chocolate, a bright pink DAB radio from my dad, an amazing nautical notebook, a beautiful bangle, a few other lovely little presents and the prettiest cards. All in all I was spoilt rotten by my lovely friends, family and Ian!
I feel so grateful to have such amazing people in my life who care about me. 

So that was my birthday, in a nutshell! I hope you enjoyed reading this birthday snippets post.
I'm off to cut myself another slab of cake... mmm.

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Lifestyle: Little Things That Make Me Happy

Everyone feels down at some point. Be it from work stress, relationship worries or just general life pressure. I find the best way to cheer myself up, and get myself feeling back to my happy self is to write down my thoughts. I often jot down little things that make me smile, (I've actually written some similar posts here) so I thought I would share with you some of those little things that make me feel happy!
1. Receiving post or parcels.

2. Online window shopping.
 *adds to basket*

3. Feel good songs.
Here are some of my favourites:
John Denver - Country roads, Sixpence None The Richer - Kiss me, Bon Jovi - You give love a bad name, Shakira - Hips don't lie, Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet home Alabama, Ram Jam - Black Betty.

4. Funny box sets.
I love a good How I met your mother, Big bang theory or Friends marathon.

5. Baking.
Especially cupcakes, rocky road, and warm ooey, gooey cookies.

6. Fresh fruit.
Give me all the melon, mango, bananas, apples, grapes, berries - actually just give me all the fruit, cheers then.

7. A big mug of tea in the morning.

8. A hearty, healthy breakfast to start your day off right.

9. Banana pancakes. Or any pancakes really. 

10. Slogan t-shirts.

11. New pyjamas.

12. Fresh bed sheets.

13. Writing on the first page of a new notebook.

14. Receiving birthday post.
Cards, presents and fizz, what's not to love!

15. Tea and cake.

16. Lazy Sundays.

17. Afternoon disco naps.

18. Funny and motivational quotes.
I screen shot the ones that make me feel happy/motivated/laugh out loud.

19. Working out.
It always clears my mind, and helps me to switch off. It's just me, a YouTube video and that's it.

20. Blankets, Netflix and popcorn.
Sweet n salt is the one.

21. Country walks.

22. Spending time with the boyfriend.
Bit soppy but who cares, I love him and he makes me so happy.

23. Date night.

24. Pick and mix.
 Give me all the teeth, fizzy everything, giant strawberries, chocolate covered raisins and milk chocolate jazzies.

25. Anything covered in sprinkles.

26. Saying that... anything covered in dark chocolate.

27. Fancy Champagne truffles. 

28. Giant tubs of Quality street and Roses at Christmas time.

29. Roast dinners.
 Gimme all the Yorkshire puddings and gravy, thank you kindly.

30. Frozen grapes.

31. Kitchen dancing.
I do this more often than I care to admit...

32. Shower singing.
...I also do this more often than I care to admit.

33. Not having to set an alarm for the morning.
 Hello starfish!

34. Catching your cup of tea at perfect drinking temperature.
Winning at life.

35. Penguins.
They are the cutest, sweetest little things, ever!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Little Things That Make Me Happy' post. What do you think of my list? What little things make you happy?
I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Want to connect?

Love Laurenx

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Baking: Banana Oat Muffins

I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to create some healthy, yet delicious treats. 
I am partial to a cupcake or three every now and again, but as cupcakes are clearly not the healthiest choice, I thought I would try my hand at baking some healthy muffins.
They turned out pretty great, and taste rather lovely too - so I thought I would share my recipe with you lovelies.

Makes 8 muffins

You will need: 
125g Greek or natural yoghurt
1 medium-sized banana (sliced in to coins)
1 medium egg
90g of rolled oats
2 tablespoons of Sweet Freedom, or honey
1 teaspoon of baking powder
35g of dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
Frylight or 1 calorie spray oil

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (temperatures may vary depending on your oven) and line a muffin tin with paper cases. 
Add all of the ingredients (except the dark chocolate) in to a blender, and process on a medium to high speed until the oats have broken down, there are no banana lumps and your batter is a smooth and creamy consistency. 

Pour your batter in to a mixing bowl, and stir in the dark chocolate. Spray each muffin case with one-calorie spray, to stop your muffins sticking to the paper.
Then spoon the batter in to each muffin case, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 
Allow the muffins to cool for about 10 minutes, and then enjoy with a cuppa!
Store the muffins in an airtight container, and they should keep for about a week.

Based on my recipe, there are only 110 calories per muffin!
I hope you enjoyed this 'Banana Oat Muffins' recipe post. What do you think of my recipe? Will you be recreating them at home?
I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Want to connect?

Love Laurenx