I made up my own recipe – Apple Cider Chicken.

Happy Saturday! This evening it was my turn to cook dinner, and for it I made up my own recipe of Apple Cider Chicken. It’s a super sweet and extremely Autumnal dish!

Now before we get started, a small disclaimer. I’m sure there are other recipes of Apple Cider Chicken but I didn’t look it up online or see it in a book, I just made my own version. I thought of what ingredients to include in my experiment in my head and quickly wrote everything down so that I wouldn’t forget it. I’m also certainly not anything close to a chef, so it’s just my bit of fun. Here’s how I did it!

Ingredients (makes 2 portions):

  • 2 apples. I used cooking apples (not 100% sure what variety as they were picked from my in-law’s tree, but any cooking apples should work).
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 250ml cloudy apple cider. I used Thatchers Haze.
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons tomato puree
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon
  • A sprinkle of ginger
  • A pinch of salt
  • A dash of cooking oil. I used olive oil.

Method:

  1. Chop the garlic into small pieces. Cut the chicken breasts into strips, and cook them in a large pan with the oil and garlic until the juices run clear. While the chicken is cooking, peel the apples and chop them up into reasonably small pieces. Steam 1 and 3/4 of the apples. Add the leftover quarter to the chicken.
  2. When the chicken is cooked and apples are steamed, add them to the chicken. I used cooking apples as when I steamed them they went into a sort of paste which is good to thicken up the sauce of this dish. Ordinary apples could work, however they usually keep their shape so it may not have the same effect.
  3. Add the tomato puree. It sounds weird having tomato with apple, but I think that because this is such a sweet dish, the tomato puree (and the garlic) adds a savoury touch which takes a little bit of the sweetness away. You don’t need to add either if you do not wish to.
  4. Add the chicken stock, the honey and the brown sugar, stirring each ingredient in well.
  5. Add the cider slowly, and stir. Bring to boil and allow to simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir again. Leave on a low heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, then serve.

I served this with just a side of broccoli and garden peas, which makes this approximately a 500 calorie meal. You could add any carbohydrates you wish though, such as chips, potatoes or rice. My fiancé absolutely loved it so I think it turned out ok! As I say, it’s very sweet so you don’t want a huge portion. The plus side – you get to drink the rest of the bottle of cider!

Let me know what you think of this dish in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Michelle xx

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The Ordinary Foundation Review

So I have read so many reviews about this foundation and the brand itself, and I just had to give it a try! At only £5.90 from Cult Beauty, you cannot really go wrong.

The Ordinary is owned by Deciem, who do not test on animals, and therefore do not sell their products in China. None of their products include chemicals such as parabens, sulphates, and many others either, so I think it’s clear that this is an ethical and trustworthy brand.

Cult Beauty provides clear shade swatches, and I usually mess up and get completely the wrong shade when buying online but I chose 1.1 N (fair, neutral) and it actually is the most perfect shade for me!

Often, when I buy something so hyped up I end up disappointed. However I was really surprised with the foundation. I have combination skin and I didn’t find it too drying or too oily either. It’s pretty full coverage but doesn’t mask or cake your face either. I did find that it went a little bit oily without using a setting powder, but the second time I used this I set it with a face powder from Revolution and it lasted all day.

I was a bit shocked when this product arrived as it looks really tiny, however it does state that it is 30ml which is pretty standard for a foundation, so I think they’ve just been clever with the packaging.

Overall I am happy with this product and I think it’s good value for money, so I would purchase it again.

Let me know in the comments if you have tried this foundation and what you think about it, or if you have tried any other products from The Ordinary!

Thanks for reading,

Michelle xx

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Artyard Cafe, Enstone, Oxfordshire.

Hey guys!

So I wanted to tell you all about a lovely little gem in Enstone, West Oxfordshire, pretty close to the edge of The Cotswolds – Artyard Cafe. I live about ten minutes from this place so I’ve visited quite a few times and each time it never ceases to amaze me, so I wanted to write a review!

Basically, the Artyard Cafe is a bistro, bar, cafe, restaurant, sports bar, grill, all rolled into one. There generally is something for everyone. Outside is a covered patio area with tables, a projector, pool/snooker table etc,as well as a children’s play area. Then, you head downstairs to the main entrance via a little terrace area that also has seating. Inside there are two rooms: the main cafe, which is as fun and quirky as could ever be imagined, with art everywhere that you are able to purchase (hence the name ‘Artyard’), and a smaller room out the back, known as “the den” which is where you’d go and chill if you just wanted a drink or to watch a sports game. They have wonderful food, from breakfast to lunch to dinner, to snacks, ice cream and freshly baked cake, it’s just amazing.

Today I sat in the den as the cafe room was quite busy (the Sunday roasts are extremely popular), it was chilly and raining outside and my OH wanted to watch the football. I sat in a little nook in the bay windows and it was so cosy, just watching the world go by.. (sidenote: does anyone else find the sound of cars passing really therapeutic? Just me?). I had a pot of tea (tea always tastes best out of a teapot, this is a fact) which was lovely. I posted this photo on my instagram earlier:

I generally do not think there could be a better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon!

I then decided that I was rather peckish and ordered bbq ribs and fries, but i was not prepared for how huge the portion was! (still ate it all though, obviously)

I love how you even get lemon water to wash your hands with after, what a cute, funky idea!

Overall, I really love this place. Excellent value for money, friendly staff and a unique setting. Here is the website which includes the wonderful menu!

Basically, if you live around this area like me or you are just visiting or passing through, you need to check this place out, and I guarantee you will love it!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle xx

*disclaimer – I’m not affiliated with Artyard Cafe in anyway, nor do i know the management or staff personally, I just really really love it!

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Eco-Natural Products Nacomi Coffee Scrub Review

Picture it: it’s yet another early morning, you’re still half asleep as you stumble to the bathroom and you’re struggling to even turn the shower on. Now, imagine how lovely and stimulating it would be to wake yourself up with an all-natural, vegan coffee body scrub! If you like this idea, oh have I got the product for you – Eco-Natural Products Nacomi Coffee Scrub.

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Now, quick disclaimer, Eco-Natural Products did very kindly send me this product for me to review it, but this will not sway this review in any way. This post will detail my honest thoughts.

The reason I was so excited to try this product was because it is completely natural and vegan. This means that it has no parabens or chemicals in so you know exactly what you are putting on your skin. I really like the simple paper packaging as it is environmentally-friendly, and it is re-sealable which is of course super handy. The smell of strong freshly brewed coffee is simply divine – hence my comment above about it being the perfect accompaniment to your morning shower. I would recommend resisting the urge to eat it though, tempting as it is! Coffee is well known for it’s skin benefits and anti-oxidant properties, so this product is a perfect way to enhance the appearance of your skin. It is anti-inflammatory and the caffeine invigorates your skin – perfect for a daily wake up call or a pamper evening!

The Ingredients:

  • Robusta Coffee
  • Cane Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sweet Almond Oil,
  • Macadamia Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Vitamin E

Feeling hungry yet? I really do love the fact that these are the only ingredients and that there really aren’t any chemicals or any harsh additives. I definitely think that this is beneficial to me as I have quite sensitive skin in some areas, which I’ve found can often become really irritated when using scrubs, but whilst using this product my skin was absolutely fine so that is fabulous! I even used this on my face; it felt really nice and didn’t cause any redness.

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When I opened that packaging I was greeted by that lush sent of fresh coffee!

I must admit that I haven’t ever used a dry scrub before, but actually I think that it felt like it was much more effective at exfoliating this way. My skin certainly feels really smooth. The product also claims to be effective with it’s “intense anti-cellulite and firming action”. I can’t really comment on the cellulite aspect as it’s not something I currently have, however I did think that the scrub does have effective firming properties especially around the thigh area. I have heard countless reports that coffee can reduce cellulite due to the caffeine content so if you do wish to reduce the appearance of cellulite I would defintely give it a go!

I personally think that there is only one issue that I found – being a dry scrub this of course does make a bit of a mess in your shower or sink when you wash it off. However it’s not exactly a big deal and easily washes away, no bother. There are much worse things to have in your shower! At £14.99 the product is a little pricier than some of the other products sold by Eco-Natural but I would personally say it’s worth it to be able to use an all-natural and handmade product. You do also get 200g of product which, again as it’s a dry product, goes a long way; you only need a very small amount each time.

Overall I am really satisfied with this product. I would recommend this and I would also purchase this myself. You can find this body scrub on the Eco-Natural website, right here.

I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Michelle xx

Huge thank you to Eco-Natural Products for sending me this body scrub! www.E-NaturalProducts.co.uk.

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Getting organised and planning my blog posts!

Hey guys!

So I popped into Hobbycraft aka the best shop ever to buy a new notebook, and I also bought some pretty pens and a weekly planner. Just a tiny tiny purchase compared to what I could have brought, roll on payday for a proper Hobbycraft Haul!

I absolutely love these designs! The pink watercolour effect is beautiful and sooo ‘instagrammable’. Pink is one of my favourite colours and I am quite a girly girl so this is perfect! Hobbycraft, as ever, you are amazing!

I’ve also planned all of my blog posts for the rest of the year, and I’m especially excited about Blogtober and of course, Blogmas! Christmas is my favourite time of year and as soon as the summer is over I will be counting down the days! I’m so excited for the future of my blog and being able to talk about everything I love. I’m so thankful for everyone who follows and reads my blog, it’s so wonderful! You guys are amazing!

Who else is getting organised with their blog? Do you like Hobbycraft too, or what other stationary stores do you love? Let me know in the comments or tag me in your stationary pictures on Instagram!

Thanks for reading!

Michelle

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I took a trip to the library & I am getting back into reading.

Hey guys!

I have to admit, that I haven’t been into a library for anything other than non-fiction books for my university degree since I was doing my GCSEs. Terrible, for someone who spent their childhood reading. All my friends and family knew that I was a huge bookworm, but I haven’t had the time to really read for so long. In college and university I was in full time education and working almost full time hours around it, and at university I only had time to read the book specific for my course – history. In the year and a bit since I graduated, my fiancé and I have brought our first house which was a complete doer-upper, and needed so much work doing to it so that for the last year, any time we were not at work we were decorating or building or sorting or whatever. This is also why I wasnt really able to blog before. Now, as we’re gradually getting more time to relax now that almost everything is done, I’m so keen to get reading around blogging in my spare time! I asked a few of you amazing people on Twitter to recommend me some books, which I will be on the look out for, but in the meantime I chose three books at random from the little village library I went to (I live in a small village, the nearest library is about a 10 minute drive away in a bigger village – all good fun). So now, no more excuses, nothing else should get in my way!

So here are the three books I chose:

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Murder By The Barrel by Lesley Cookman

Take Me Home by Daniela Sacredoti

I will review all of them on my blog once I’ve read them.

Has anyone read these books before or anything by these authors? If so, let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading, and please check out my social media, links below! Xx

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Joyland by Stephen King – Book Review

Hi everyone, here is my brief review of ‘Joyland’ by Stephen King. I haven’t written a book review since I was at college but I wanted to have a go, so please don’t expect anything amazing with this. Hope you enjoy!
I am pretty sure that we all know who Stephen King is. He seems to be the godfather of horror stories, known for his dark novels that inspired some riveting horror movies, such as It and Carrie. His 2013 novel, Joyland, is no exception to the rule. A mystery/crime novel set in a South Carolina amusement park in 1973, this story was bound to incorporate an element of terror and fear, and it does just that. However, considering the truly dark abhorrent nature of other novels by King, this is in my opinion more tame than some of his other works.
The synopsis reads as follows: “College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truth about life – and what comes after- that would change his world forever.” Instantly, we are reminded of the basis of every King novel – death and darkness. We are also introduced to our protagonist Devin, who is hung up on the demise of his first taste of love. As the story begins, I was instantly reminded of the start of a stereotypical rom com, whereby the protagonist would try something out of their usual comfort zone to escape the memories of their first love and end up finding love in a truer form. However, our guy Devin is extremely heartbroken about losing his beloved Wendy Keegan, and throughout the novel we are reminded of it again and again and again. Although I think this element of the story is important to the plot as it’s a contributory reason to why Devin is at Joyland in the first place, I don’t think it really adds anything to the overall narrative by keep repeating it. I feel as though it makes the character of Devin come across of rather mundane and dull. Notwithstanding this, the synopsis certainly intrigues the reader and encompasses an element of mystery, encouraging you to really want to read the story.
After a descriptive start, the storyline really gets going when the character Emmalina Shoplaw, who’s name Devin describes as it being “hard not to picture a rosy-cheeked landlady out of a Charles Dickens novel”, tells the ‘ghost story’ of why the Horror House ride at Joyland is considered to be haunted, after the vicious and gory unsolved murder of a young woman on the ride a few years previously. The character of Rozzie Gold, aka ‘Madame Fortuna’ offers a further element of mystery and spookiness when her seemingly nonsense prophecies begin to come true. I definitely think that this helps to keep the reader compelled and interested in the plot and encourages you to attempt to figure out the mystery. I can’t speak for everyone but I certainly felt that the revelation of who the murderer is was rather shocking, but it makes total sense. It certainly brings that sense of “of course, why didn’t I think of that.” I really think that this revelation makes the book resonate in your mind and gives you the euphoric feeling when you finish a good book. This is certainly a reason why I like this book – the wow factor. King really conveys how ingenious he can be by cleverly playing with the mind of the reader. Despite this, I do think that after this revelation the story ends rather abruptly. There isn’t really much of a structured ending, and I think at it was quite odd to not have the opinions about the killer’s identity from notable characters such as Mrs Shoplaw, Tom and Erin especially after they were so essential in building the discovery of the murder and subsequent haunting. Another thing I disliked about the book was the fact that although this book is set in the summer of 1973, it seems to jump around between prior to that summer and to years after and the present day. As such I personally found that it was difficult to keep up with the story line at times.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book and it has made me really want to read some more of King’s work, and although there were certain aspects that I didn’t particularly like, I would really recommend this to anyone who enjoys a spooky sort of mystery story.

My rating: 3 of of 5 stars

Thank you for reading!

Michelle xx

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